Senator Kenneth P. LaValle today announced that the Child Passenger Protection Act, known as Leandra’s Law, has been signed into law. The enactment of Leandra’s Law creates one of the toughest DWI (driving while intoxicated) laws in the country. Under this measure, those convicted of DWI (.08 BAC or higher) with a child in the car will face felony charges and up to 4 years in prison. A maximum of 7 years prison time would be imposed if there is serious injury to a child passenger. In addition, anyone convicted of a DWI offense would be required to have an ignition interlock installed in their vehicle.
“Getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after a drinking binge is purely irresponsible behavior. To do so with a child in the car is unconscionable,” said Senator LaValle. “This measure was signed into law in the wake of two tragic accidents that resulted in the deaths of innocent children. Perhaps their lives could have been saved if the vehicles they were driving had been equipped with interlock devices.”
According to Senator LaValle, Leandra’s Law would increase the criminal penalties and jail time for anyone convicted of DWI or driving recklessly when a child is a passenger in the vehicle. The measure also mandates ignition interlock devices for all DWI convictions, including first-time offenders. Leandra’s Law was named for 11-year-old Leandra Rosado who was a passenger in the vehicle of a woman who was driving drunk and crashed along the Henry Hudson Parkway.
“I am pleased to have supported Leandra’s Law and applaud my colleagues for recognizing the urgency of this measure and passing it with great expediency,” said Senator LaValle. “It is my hope that this law will protect children from suffering the reckless decisions of irresponsible adults.”