Assemblywoman Sandy Galef was recognized this week by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) as Legislator of the Year for her leadership on Bryan Johnson’s Law (A6101A). This award identifies state lawmakers who played a major role in MADD’s mission to eliminate alcohol- and drug-impaired driving and support the victims of these 100% preventable crimes.
Under current New York law, a person facing a DWI charge would be treated as a first time offender even if they have a history of boating while intoxicated. Bryan Johnson’s Law would allow judges to take prior boating while intoxicated offenses into account when sentencing people for DWIs. When a defendant demonstrates a pattern of reckless behavior they rightfully face harsher penalties.
Bryan Johnson, a 26-year old resident of Ossining, died in 2012 following a boating accident in Long Island Sound. Johnson was boating with friends when the group decided to go for a swim. The driver of the boat, who had been drinking, played a prank on the swimmers and sped away. When he came back for the swimmers, Johnson had drowned.
Assemblywoman Sandy Galef said, “What a wonderful surprise to get this award from MADD. In New York, we have passed legislation to protect against drunk driving, but we also need to recognize that boating while intoxicated is a significant threat to public safety. It should not matter if an intoxicated person is driving a car or a boat. If they are under the influence, they must face penalties. Thank you to MADD for recognizing the importance of this Bryan Johnson law that needs to be adopted.”
“People are dying on America’s roads at levels not seen since 2002, but these 65 lawmakers are taking action to reverse the deadly trend,” said MADD National President Alex Otte. “MADD is grateful for the commitment of these legislative champions to eliminating the 100% preventable crime of impaired driving and boating, protecting their communities and supporting victims and survivors whose lives were forever changed by someone else’s choice.”