Some people in New York may remember the serious boating accident that claimed the life of a 20-year-old woman in July 2006. She died after the boat she was riding in crashed into the Alger Island State Campground. The driver responsible for her death, a 24-year-old man, had a blood alcohol level of .10 at the time of the accident; but because the current New York laws do not link drunk driving offenses between vehicles, the court could not take his previous DWIs into consideration.
But that could all change in the upcoming months if the State Assembly passes a bill that was just recently passed by the New York State Senate this month. The bill, called Tiffany's Law, was named after the 20-year-old woman who tragically lost her life in the fatal boating accident. Passed by the Senate with a 61-0 vote, this new bill would link all driving while intoxicated offenses with all other drunk-driving offenses committed while operating other vehicles.
As Sen. John DeFrancisco explains, there have been several cases where a person convicted of a BWI (boating while intoxicated) was not properly punished because their previous drunk-driving offenses were not allowed by law to be taken into consideration. This new bill, the senator explains, will provide a link between these offenses so that violators can be held accountable for a history of irresponsible behavior.
"There should be no distinction when it comes to operating a snowmobile, car or boat while drunk," says the senator, a sentiment echoed by numerous people across the state. Because even though the current law allows for increased penalties for repeat offenders, it does not do so across vehicle types, which makes each conviction a separate case with separate punishments.
The New York State Senate, "Senate Passes 'Tiffany's Law'," Majority Press, Feb. 14, 2013
9WSYR.com, "Man Behind Wheel in Fatal Boating Crash Sentenced," Feb. 7, 2008