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New Law Allows EMTs To Draw Blood of DUI Suspects

New Law Allows EMTs To Draw Blood of DUI Suspects

Gov. David Paterson (AP)

DNAInfo Press Release

July 14, 2010

MANHATTAN — Gov. David Paterson signed the “Jack Shea Bill” into law on Monday, allowing nurses and emergency medical technicians to test suspected drunk drivers’ alcohol levels without the supervision of a doctor.

The bill was inspired by the 2002 death of two-time Olympic gold medalist Jack Shea, who at 91 years old died was killed in a drunk driving accident in the Adirondacks.

While nurses focused on treating Shea, police asked an EMT to give the other driver involved in the crash a blood test for alcohol. The driver was nearly twice the legal limit, but because the blood test wasn’t taken by a doctor, the case was thrown out of court.

Paterson said the bill was another step in the fight against drunk driving, and would bring the legal standard for withdrawing blood in suspected drunken and impaired driving cases into conformity with standard medical practice.

“Jack Shea’s Law will close a loophole that allowed several guilty individuals to evade justice,” said the governor.

It’s the second time in less than a year that the governor has signed a bill aimed at drunk drivers. Leandra’s Law, which went into effect last December, made it a felony to drive drunk with a child 15 years old or younger in the car.