This is the question that lawmakers in our neighbor state New Jersey will likely vote on later this week. The debate was recently sparked when a TV station aired a segment about a train engineer who had worked for years operating a train for the New Jersey Transit System despite the fact that his driver’s license had been revoked for DWI (driving while intoxicated) related offenses. Now, several news sources have retold the story and the debate is picking up speed.
Essentially, this man was not allowed to drive his car to work and yet once he arrived at work he was permitted to operate a commuter train. Surprisingly, this is completely legal under existing federal law. New Jersey Transit was well aware of their employee’s history with drunk driving, and yet they were legally allowed to employ him as a train engineer because he met all of the relevant regulations under the Federal Railroad Administration’s rules. Currently, a railroad can consider a prospective train engineer’s driving record when deciding who to hire, however they cannot consider driving violations that took place more than 36 months before.
Proposed Changes To The Existing Law
Lawmakers in New Jersey are now pushing for more stringent legislation. The proposed legislation would prohibit train engineers who have had their driver’s license revoked or suspended due to drunk driving violations from operating trains. One idea on the table is that a DWI should immediately exclude a person from being able to operate a passenger train within the state of New Jersey.
Suspended And Revoked Driver’s Licenses In New York
Whether you work as a train engineer or not, having your driver’s license suspended or revoked due to a drunk driving offense can take a big toll on your day-to-day life. However, there is a big difference between a suspended driver’s license and a revoked driver’s license. If your license is suspended then your privilege to drive is taken away for a set period of time. However, a revocation of your driver’s license means that you no longer have the privilege of driving. If your license has been revoked and you want to get a new license you must re-apply to the DMV once a set period of time has passed. However, there is no guarantee that your application will be approved. The chart below outlines the minimum suspension and revocation time periods for a few of New York’s drunk driving offenses.
|Aggravated DWI||One-year revocation|
|DWAI by Alcohol||90-day suspension|
|DWAI by a Drug||Six-month suspension|
|DUI Outside of State||Alcohol: 90-day revocation; Drug: 6-month suspension|
For more information take a look at the DMV’s Guide to Suspension & Revocation Of Driving Privileges In New York.
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