Franklin County fights drinking and driving
Since 1981, state law has required counties to establish task forces to combat drunk driving. Barry Wygel takes a look at the Franklin County task force and how they are working to save lives and prevent accidents.
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FRANKLIN COUNTY, N.Y. -- Drunk driving claims about 10,000 lives each year. That's a number police want to decrease.
"Each county is supposed to have a stop-DWI program in place," said Glenn MacNeill, Chief Assistant District Attorney for Franklin County.
The Franklin County program works to deter drinking and driving by conducting compliance checks and DWI-checkpoints.
"It's a very inexpensive thing to do," said MacNeill.
The program, like others throughout the state, is not funded by tax dollars. Fines collected by prosecuting drunk drivers is put back into education and prevention.
"It's getting the message out to the young people that you're getting into adulthood, you need to be careful as to what you are doing, you are responsible for your own actions," said MacNeill.
But even though programs, like the stop-DWI program here in Franklin County, have been shown to save lives and reduce accidents, officials said this isn't a problem you can just throw money at. It's a problem that needs to be solved by personal accountability.
"Everybody knows that it is against the law....They are making personal choices. The message they have to understand is you are an adult, you should be acting like an adult," said MacNeill.
In the meantime, the Franklin County stop-DWI task force will be doing what it can to prevent intoxicated people from getting behind the wheel; and, they said they are seeing results.
"Five years ago, when we were doing compliance checks, you were getting several entities around the county that were caught selling to minors; and this time around, there were none. They were all in compliance," said MacNeill.
The task force coordinates with the numerous local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in Franklin County all in an effort to save lives.
For more information about the Franklin County stop-DWI task force or to learn about the task force in your area, please visit New York STOP DWI.