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  • May

By a vote of 45-1, the New York state Senate passed a bill aimed at curbing the dangerous influence of drunk driving in January of 2012.

Named after an 8-year-old girl who was tragically killed in a car crash in 2009, Abbagail's Law would make it illegal for a supervising driver to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while sitting in the passenger seat. Abbagail's father was drunk when he convinced a 17-year-old family member with a learner's permit to drive him to the store so he could buy more alcohol.

If signed into law by the governor, a person supervising a driver with a learner's permit will be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to one year. The law also creates an additional crime, aggravated supervision, which will be considered a Class E felony and punishable of a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison sentence of up to four years.

The sentences proposed by the law show how serious the state is about punishing those that would supervise new drivers while intoxicated. Yet, not matter how severe the penalty imposed by the state is, those that are injured by these individuals need to seek recourse civilly through personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits.

Through a lawsuit, a person sustaining injuries or losing a loved one in a car accident involving either a drunk driver or intoxicated person supervising a driver may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering.

Source: WIVB.com, "Abbigail's Law sweeps thru NYS Senate," Nancy Sanders, Jan. 24, 2012