Senate Passes Bills to Combat Dangerous Driving

June 18, 2012

The State Senate today passed two bills intended to keep dangerous drivers off our streets and increase penalties for drivers who injure or kill pedestrians or other drivers.

Legislation passed today (S.562), sponsored by Senator Joseph Robach (R-C-I, Rochester), would require breathalyzer tests for drivers involved in accidents causing serious physical injury or death.

“This bill will address the public outcry of families and victims who have many times felt alcohol and or drugs were involved in the accident that serious injured or killed their loved ones,” Senator Robach said.  “This legislation will ensure, via this test, that those who injure people because of impaired driving will not be able to be repeat offenders and victimize additional drivers.”

By requiring that drivers involved in automobile accidents that cause serious physical injury or death are administered breathalyzer tests, law enforcement officials can immediately determine whether alcohol may have played a role in the crash.  Armed with the results of the breathalyzer test, officials can investigate accordingly and victims can be left with no doubt as to whether alcohol was a factor in the crash. 

Legislation (S.1835), sponsored by Senator John Flanagan (R-C-I, East Northport),  also passed the Senate today.  It would toughen criminal penalties for motorists who injure or kill pedestrians or other drivers as a result of dangerous and unlawful driving.  

“The need for New York to establish a policy that holds those who knowingly break the laws of our roadways more accountable for their actions is unmistakable,” Senator Flanagan said.  “Far too many negligent and outright law-breaking drivers are permitted to avoid proper punishment for the problems they cause on our roads and the damage that they inflict on innocent families across New York State.  This legislation will help end that and send the message to those who flout the rules of our state’s roads that they must respect their fellow motorists or be subject to increased punishment.”

This bill would establish the felony crimes of Vehicular Assault and Vehicular Manslaughter for drivers who either injure or kill pedestrians or other motorists while using alcohol, evading police officers in dangerous, often high-speed chases, and driving with suspended or revoked license.  

The bills were sent to the Assembly.