Sen. William T. Smith Award presented at NYS Highway Safety Conference
(NIAGARA FALLS, NY) – Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Fred Akshar were each presented the William T. Smith Award Monday during the annual New York State Highway Safety Conference in Niagara Falls. The two representatives from Broome County were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the STOP-DWI effort in New York State.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to bestow the prestigious Smith Award on Assemblywoman Lupardo and Senator Akshar,” said Christina Hale, Chairperson of the NYS STOP-DWI Association. “Their creativity, leadership and persistence has resulted in tangible gains in the State’s ongoing efforts to reduce the incidence of drunk and drugged driving tragedies. We treasure our working relationship with two legislators who recognize the crucial role played by the County Coordinators and who embody the spirit and ‘can do’ attitude of the late Senator Smith.”
Lupardo and Akshar were chosen as this year’s award recipients for their leadership in securing $1.6 million for STOP-DWI programs across the state in the 2017-18 State Budget, as well as for their work on legislation (A210/S6684) which would allow for fines from impaired driving offenses to be collected ahead of other fees and surcharges collected by the state. Fines from these offenses go directly to supporting STOP-DWI programs across the state. However, the current formula for collecting fees and surcharges first often results in fines going unpaid, and as a result, loss of revenue for important STOP-DWI programs throughout the state. This bill passed both houses of the State Legislature in June and awaits action by the Governor.
“I’m honored to receive the Senator Smith Award,” said Assemblywoman Lupardo. “The true champions of the state’s STOP-DWI programs are the women and men who work every day to ensure that our roads are safe from impaired drivers. I am proud to do my part to strengthen STOP-DWI efforts throughout New York.”
“The STOP DWI program is an important, pre-emptive tool to help communities across our state prevent avoidable tragedy,” said Senator Akshar. “I’m proud to play a small role to help support this program by securing the resources needed for volunteers, advocates and law enforcement to spread awareness and save lives.”
The award is named for Senator William T. Smith, the lead sponsor of the 1981 legislation that created New York’s STOP-DWI program. It is given annually by the NYS STOP-DWI Association as the group’s highest honor to recognize outstanding leadership to combatting drunk and drugged driving across New York State.