Hawley Praises Passage of Abbagail’s Law

Assemblyman pleased by action taken against inebriated supervision of a motor vehicle

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) today praised the state Senate’s passage of what is being referred to across New York as “Abbagail’s Law.” The bill, named for eight-year-old Abbagail Buzard, makes it a crime for the supervising adult of a driver to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“I am so glad that the Senate has taken action on this important issue,” said Hawley. “As a father of two, I want to know that not only is driving while intoxicated a crime but that supervising the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence is as well. This needs to be passed, and I look forward to working in the Assembly to make Abbagail’s Law a reality.”

Abbagail Buzard passed away in a motor vehicle accident on September 4, 2009. She was a passenger in an SUV being driven by a 17-year-old cousin who only had a learner’s permit. She was forced to drive by Abbagail’s father, who was too intoxicated to drive. Abbagail died after the SUV flipped and overturned into a ditch of water in Barre. Under current law, Abbagail’s father was not held criminally responsible. With this new legislation, supervision of a driver while intoxicated would be a Class A misdemeanor, or a Class E felony in an aggravated case.

Last January, Assemblyman Hawley proposed legislation to enact Abbagail’s Law. To easier facilitate its passage, Assemblyman Hawley became a prime co-sponsor of Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther’s, a member of the Assembly Majority, bill.

“The death of Abbagail Buzard was a tragic event that should never have happened, and we’ve worked hard to make sure something like this doesn’t occur again,” said Hawley. “Our children are our most precious commodity, and laws like this help to protect them while punishing those whose actions put others in harm’s way.”