For more than 40 years, New York’s Stop DWI programs have led to a decrease in impaired driving across the state.

State Sen. Tim Kennedy says the effort is worthwhile.

"The program is clearly working. We’ve seen a magnificent decrease in DWIs across New York state to the tune of about 70% in the first decade this program was in place," he said. 

But some lawmakers are concerned money from impaired driving fees aren’t going where they should be. Kennedy wants the money sent not to the state's general fund, but directly to county programs. As the budget fight continues in Albany, lawmakers want to strengthen anti-DWI programs at the local level.

"It will help us to continue the program to a level where there is a decrease in DWIs with every aspect of public safety in mind," Kennedy said. 

All told, about $7 million is at stake for STOP-DWI programs across the state. The budget is due to pass April 1, and lawmakers hope the direct funding measure is included in a final deal.

"We also hope that that funding going directly to the counties and not the general fund will give them the confidence that funding will be there and allow them to enforce and put forward these education and prevention programs at a level our communities across New York state deserve," Kennedy said. 

State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo says lawmakers want the change included in a final budget agreement amid growing concerns over traffic safety.

"Over two thirds of the people killed on the highways have to do with some type of driving impairment," Lupardo said. "They need the funds for sobriety checkpoints and training and all the things they have done so well."

The STOP-DWI program began in 1981 with the goal of tailoring anti-impaired driving messages to specific regions of New York.

"Each DWI program has a specific set of circumstances and constituencies – whether it’s urban, suburban or rural," Lupardo said. "And we want them to continue to be able to address what they see going on in their counties."