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  Words in the News
  New York introduced a controversial new law to deter drink-driving. Anybody caught drink-driving will now have their car confiscated. Jane Hughes, BBC correspondent in New York, reported.
  Audio Listen to the report in full
New York City

25th February 1999
Anti drink-driving law in New York

NEWS 1   New York’s new anti drink-driving measures have been ushered in with a fanfare. Dozens of teams of officers have been out on the streets of the city carrying out random checks on motorists and at least one car has already been seized. It’s been confiscated under the provisions of old laws which allow the government to seize vehicles used in crimes. The driver will only get it back if he or she is subsequently cleared of drink-driving. Otherwise, it’ll be auctioned, with the proceeds going into city coffers.

drink-driving: a compound noun describing driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol

fanfare: literally, a short ceremonial tune played on a trumpet. Here it means with a lot of noise and publicity

dozens: journalists' use of dozens is a concise way of implying large numbers

seized: here means taken forcibly. It can also mean arrested

confiscated: officially to seize somebody's property, usually on a temporary basis

cleared : in this context, found innocent

city coffers: coffers is another word for money chests. Here the meaning is money going into the city's bank account

NEWS 2  

This zero-tolerance of drink-driving is the latest initiative introduced in the wake of New York’s highly successful zero tolerance crime policy under which even the most minor crimes are prosecuted. More than six thousand people were arrested for drink-driving in New York last year. If that means six thousand cars are seized in 1999, this could prove a lucrative policy for the city. But in a nation where the car is many people’s most prized possession, it could also prove deeply unpopular.


zero-tolerance: another compound noun used to imply that even minor crimes will be punished

in the wake of: following, as a wake follows a ship as it moves

most prized: most prized is an example this time of a compound adjective, in this case describing possession

    Read about the background in BBC News Online

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