Get Out in Front of the Headlines

01.19.10 | Dr. Stephen Coleman | Comments[6]

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All too often lawmakers in Albany and in Harrisburg react to the tragedy and mayhem of the headlines instead of getting out in front of the headlines. We see this time and time again. Laws or proposed laws banning texting and handheld cell phones while driving are only seriously considered or passed after countless citizens are injured and slaughtered on the highways.

Even then, when laws are passed they often leave a lot to be desired because the fines and insurance consequences are minimal.

Likewise, it took lots of kids getting killed in vehicles driven by drunk drivers for New York State to finally pass a law last November that made driving drunk with kids fifteen or under in the car a felony. This law -- know as Leandra’s Law -- was named to honor 11-year-old Leandra Rosaro who was killed last October in a car driven by a drunken adult.

Unfortunately, this law does not go far enough because it only applies to kids fifteen or younger. So someone driving drunk with a sixteen year old as a passenger will get a pass on a felony charge.

Another part of Leandra’s Law is that anyone convicted of DWI in New York State will be required to install something called an ignition interlock. This device -- much like a breathalyzer -- will prevent someone who is legally drunk from driving. A driver blows into this device, which then measures the amount of alcohol in one’s breath. If the person is drunk, the car will not start.

This Leandra’s Law requirement is a good one. However, it does not go far enough. In order to be proactive and get out in front of the headlines, lawmakers in Albany and Harrisburg should pass legislation that would require ALL cars to have ignition interlock devices to prevent drunks from driving.

Driving while intoxicated is such a major problem and all too often people who have had one too many get on the road. Having an ignition interlock device in every car will save thousands of lives in the years ahead. So let’s save lives and require an ignition interlock device in every car.

I hope the lawmakers in Albany and Harrisburg are listening.

cc-wetm - tv- Dr. Coleman also airs commentaries and a public affairs program on WETM 18 Elmira. For more information on these programs, go to


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 01.21.10 Andy commented

Ignition interlock devices sound good, I hear it works too. Keep up the good work. I love your talk show on NBC in Elmira
Andy K

on 01.21.10 Brian commented

Dr. Coleman,
What time is your weekend talk show on? I live in Corning and I heard Bob Price mention it during his noon news on Wednesday, but I missed it.

on 01.21.10 Rachel commented

Dear Steve,
I think Albany and Harrisburg have more important "fish to fry" - until they take care of the fiscal emergency both states are facing, nothing else matters. I love your commentaries and look forward to them every week during the Noon Report

on 01.21.10 Carl commented

Dear Dr. Coleman,
I think they should install those ignition interlock devices on the vehicles of all the politicians in NY and PA ....they blow enough hot air that they could start a forest fire !!!

on 01.21.10 Bill commented

Anyone who would drive drunk with kids in the car is selfish and should be thrown in jail - i don't care if you get in an accident or not.

on 01.27.10 Brian commented

Trying to regulate every possible safety issue caused by lack of forethought or caring can be almost impossible. In doing so you run the risk of creating a totalitarian state where a person is afraid to blow one's nose out of fear of violating some law.