New York Legislature Fights Underage Drinking

Westchester County State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, along with State Sen. Jeff Klein are sponsoring a bill to curb underage drinking by limiting access to fake identification. Their investigation has determined that 16% of all alcohol consumed in New York State is by underage drinkers. The lawmakers sent interns into New York City from Westchester County and other localities and found that they easily obtained fake IDs. Klein and Stewart-Cousins are promoting a bill that would impose penalties on shops that sell the false identification cards.

The bill would also make identification scanners mandatory where alcohol is sold. Among other penalties, New York store owners would lose their liquor and/or lottery licenses.

People who’ve lost loved ones to DWI car wrecks agree with the measure. In December 2005, an underage Ralph Tarchine admitted to drunk driving and being under the influence of drugs when he killed 17-year-old Michael Plunkett in a crash. Michael Plunkett was the son of News 12 financial analyst Bob Plunkett. Weeks later, police said Tarchine injured another teen in a different crash.

This writer was a co-worker and friend of Andrew Sears, an experienced and talented trial attorney who was killed in a car accident 5 years ago with an underage drunk driver with a history of alcohol related accidents. Carole Sears, Mr. Sears’ widow, is a spokesperson for the measure, which will hopefully become law in the very near future.

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