Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani

Mayor's WINS Address
Sunday, May 23, 1999

Hear the Mayor's Message

A Victory for the City's Drunk Driving Policy—and for all New Yorkers
by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani

Drunk Driving is one of our most tragic social problems. Thousands of families every year loose loved ones because people fail to exercise the basic responsibility to abstain from drinking when they are going to drive an automobile. Every one of those deaths is preventable—but for years, despite extensive public education, campaigns, the message didn't get across clearly enough. It didn't get across to chronic drunk drivers or to those who might be committing the crime for the first time—who are actually responsible for the vast majority of drunk driving fatalities nationwide.

In February, New York City launched a new initiative to confiscate the cars of those arrested for Driving While Intoxicated. We wanted to save lives. We wanted to send the message that drinking and driving is never worth the risk.

Police Commissioner Howard Safir's plan—like so many other new ideas proposed in the City of New York—faced intense criticism, cynicism, and opposition when it was first introduced. But this week, a New York State Supreme Court ruling upheld the policy as legal and constitutional.

In his opinion, the judge agreed with the City that a car being driven by a drunk driver is a dangerous weapon that can be taken so that it cannot harm or kill another human being. This a significant victory for the City.

Between the time the new policy began and last week, there have been 91 fewer DWI related accidents citywide, a decrease of 21 percent. DWI related deaths have decreased over 28 percent compared to the same period last year. And at the same time, the Police Department has had to make fewer DWI-related arrests. Based on our success, it's no surprise cities around the country and the world, actually, are modeling similar programs after our plan.

Finally, I want to mention how pleased I am that New York City's private sector continues to create jobs at a record pace. The total number of private sector jobs created since December of 1993 is now at 311,000. And last month, New York City's unemployment rate remained near its lowest level in over a decade.

Why is the private sector surging? There are many, many reasons, but I'll single out two of the most important. The first is that New York City is the safest large city in America for the third year in a row--with overall crime down over 50 percent and homicide down 70 percent since 1993. And the second is the targeted tax cuts and sensible economic policies which have transformed New York City from an anti-business city to a pro-business city. Businesses know that they are investing in a city that values their contributions and especially values the jobs they provide for New Yorker. Now, it's our challenge to keep this momentum building and enable the private sector to continue to create more and more opportunities for many years to come. This is Mayor Rudy Giuliani.


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