N.Y. Gov. Pataki’s Veto Upholds Drunk Driver Exclusion Law

New York insurers applauded Governor George Pataki’s veto of legislation (S.5578/A.5158) which would have required auto insurers to pay the medical bills of drivers who injured themselves while driving drunk.

“Auto insurance does not cover injuries resulting from illegal, intentional acts whether they result from drag racing or driving drunk,” said Bernard Bourdeau, president of the New York Insurance Association. “Expanding auto insurance coverage to include the costs of injuries drunk drivers inflict on themselves not only would result in higher auto insurance rates, but also signal that we believe people who drive while drunk do not have to pay for their own misdeeds.”

Bourdeau said that the veto sent the right message that “New York has zero tolerance for drunk drivers.”

New York law requires hospitals, emergency room physicians and others to treat the injuries of drunk drivers, noted Bourdeau, adding that the public and policyholders should not have to pay. “These irresponsible individuals should be required to make financial restitution to the hospital, physicians and other providers for services rendered,” he said.

The New York Insurance Association is a trade association of property/casualty insurance companies which provide insurance coverage for autos, homes and businesses throughout New York State.