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Drunken boaters in New York should soon face more severe punishment if they have previous convictions for driving other vehicles while intoxicated.

Albany County Crime Victims
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Local officials gathered at Academy Park in Albany today for a ceremony to honor the memory of Albany County crime victims.

As 2015 draws to a close, many of us will take to the highways - whether it's dinner and a night out, a visit to family, or a junket to an entertainment venue,  law enforcement officials urge one and all to 'stay safe.'

A former upstate New York police officer has been sentenced to three to nine years in prison after admitting responsibility for the driving while intoxicated crash that killed a friend.

Local media outlets report that 23-year-old Mark Fusco pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree vehicular manslaughter for the crash that killed 22-year-old Sean Murphy last year.

Fusco was off-duty as a police officer in the neighboring city of Rensselaer when his car crashed into a tree in the town of East Greenbush, across the Hudson River from Albany.

A lawyer says a New York drunken-driving charge against 1970s teen heartthrob David Cassidy has been reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor and returned to a town court for resolution.

Cassidy was pulled over in August in the town of Schodack and charged with driving while intoxicated. He was in upstate New York for a horse racing meet in Saratoga Springs.

The charge was a felony because Cassidy has a 2011 driving-under-the-influence conviction in his home state of Florida.

Edwin Land/Flickr

As we draw nearer to the end of 2013, law enforcement authorities are stepping up their efforts to prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel.  Consumption of alcoholic beverages is part of holiday celebrations. The same can be said for public awareness about the dangers of impaired driving. 

The New York State Thruway Authority and Mothers Against Drunk Driving have kicked off their annual "red ribbon" campaign against drunken driving. 65,000 red ribbons are being handed out to motorists along the Thruway. 

Governor Peter Shumlin has proposed changing the way courts deal with drunken drivers to reduce the rate of repeat offenders.

The state would set up DUI courts, similar to drug courts, in which judges would monitor the treatment of people with second or third DUI offenses and could impose sanctions and rewards.

Recently a woman was arrested in Ballston Spa in Saratoga County for driving while intoxicated, and even though this was the seventh time she was charged with D.W.I. , she still had a valid driver’s license. That would not be allowed under a bill from Republican Assemblyman James Tedisco of Schenectady and Saratoga counties who says repeat drunken and dangerous drivers should have their licenses taken away. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.