NYC DWI Cabbie Program

Allows Drunk Drivers to be Taken Home in Their Own Vehicles

The New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers (NYSFTD) enacted a new program over the holidays that allowed drunken individuals to be driven home by cabbies. The unique aspect of the program was that the taxi driver drove the intoxicated person’s car.

The pilot program, called “Operation Red Nose,” ran for nearly a week leading up to New Year’s Day. Afterwards, the NYSFTD declared the program a huge success, noting that it provided more than 1,800 trips for people who were unable to safely drive themselves home. Five hundred people used the service on New Year’s Eve alone.

Cab drivers eligible for the program had to be approved by the NY Taxi and Limousine Commission. The program called for two of these eligible taxi drivers to show up to a call, with one of the cabbies driving the client’s personal vehicle while the other “escort” cabbie followed in a taxi. Once the passenger was safely delivered to his or her destination, the driver following in the taxi would pick up the other driver.

DWI Cabbie Program Makes NY Roads Safer

Some might consider the Operation Red Nose program cost-prohibitive, with already-expensive NYC taxi fees being doubled for a client wishing to be driven home in his or her own car. However, if expanded and enacted on a large scale, the program could ultimately save tens of thousands of people from being assessed far more costly fines, parking tickets, and towing fees. Even without late fees or penalties being levied, a typical parking ticket in New York City can cost a person upwards of $115. Additionally, a person charged with a first offense DWI in New York could be looking at fines totaling more than $1,750, in addition to fees and associated costs for enrolling in the NY Drinking Driver Program, the state’s DWI-specific traffic school.

Another benefit afforded by the Operation Red Nose program is that it kept potential drunk drivers from destroying their lives. According to research conducted by the Century Council, more than 35,000 drivers were arrested in New York in 2011 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. A person can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in NY if he or she has a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. The penalties for a DWI conviction in New York are severe. For example, a second offense DWI conviction could result in a sentence of up to four years in jail and driver’s license revocation for at least one year. Additionally, since a second offense DWI is considered a class E felony, a conviction will show up on a person’s permanent criminal record.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of the Operation Red Nose program is that it ensured public safety by encouraging drunk drivers to stay off the roads. Fernando Mateo, the founder and spokesperson for the NYSFTD, said that the pilot program that was in effect during the holiday season saved lives because people are often willing to take the risk of driving drunk rather than leave their car behind and risk having it get stolen, towed away, or ticketed. Unfortunately, this willingness to drive while intoxicated doesn’t just risk the lives of drunk drivers; it puts everyone on NYC roads at risk. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), there were 344 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in New York in 2012. This figure represented nearly 30 percent of total traffic deaths in the state.

Now that the Operation Red Nose pilot program has concluded, the NYSFTD is looking into the possibility of offering the program year-round in New York City. In the meantime, NY traffic officers will continue to crack down on drunk driving.

If you’ve been assessed a traffic violation or charged with drunk driving in New York, do not hesitate to contact the experienced drunk driving and traffic defense lawyers at the Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC. For a free consultation call 866-642-3807.