Magnarelli Encourages Parents and Students to Make ‘Arrive Alive’ Pledge

Program to keep kids stay safe during prom season

Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli (D-Syracuse) is promoting safe driving practices by encouraging parents and their prom-going children to take part in the Arrive Alive pledge. This no-drinking-and-driving prom promise will ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable evening.

“In the past, far too many tragedies have resulted from alcohol related driving accidents,” Magnarelli said. “If every student and parent would commit to making safety a priority on prom night, we could reverse these frightening statistics.”

The pledge requires parents to provide a ride at anytime during the night − no questions asked, while children promise not to drink and drive, or accept a ride from someone who has been drinking.

“Taking the pledge is simple and it could mean the difference between life and death,” Magnarelli said. “Sadly we are reminded every day about the dangers of drinking and driving. I urge every prom-goer and their family to take the pledge so that they can look back on prom night with fond memories, not with grief of a tragedy.”

The Assembly has taken several measures to toughen the law so that those who injure or kill another person because they were driving while intoxicated or impaired by drugs are held responsible. Magnarelli has introduced legislation to enact the ‘Bill Leaf – Brandi Woods Law’. This law increases penalties faced by repeat drunk drivers who then kill or seriously injure others while driving drunk or under the influence of alcohol or drugs (A.10619).

This legislation is named for two young Central New Yorkers who were killed by repeat offenders of driving while intoxicated. Brandi Woods, a 15 year old student from Memphis, New York, was tragically killed while delivering Girl Scout cookies on March 17, 2005 – by a drunk driver with three prior DWI arrests. Bill Leaf was a 25 year old reporter for Syracuse radio station WSYR. He was killed by a drunk driver on January 8, 2006.

The drunk driver that killed Bill Leaf had a history of driving while intoxicated. Despite the man responsible for Brandi Wood’s death was a repeat drunk driver, he only received a sentence of only one-to-three years in state prison.

“People who drink and drive not only put their lives in jeopardy, but the lives of all those around them as well. Current law does not adequately punish repeat drunk drivers. We need to create stiffer penalties for those repeat drunk drivers and give them a punishment they deserve,” stated Magnarelli. “This legislation will increase the penalties handed down to these drivers. By stiffening the penalties, hopefully we can make people think twice before deciding to drink and drive.”

Last year, the Assembly passed a law, Magnarelli sponsored, increasing the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it will help crack down on instances of “hit-and-run” driving accidents (Ch. 49 of 2005).

“These laws are in place to help make sure that our loved ones are safe on our streets and highways,” Magnarelli said. “So on prom night I hope that students don’t lose sight of what is most important – their safety.”

To receive a copy of the Arrive Alive pledge, contact Assemblyman Magnarelli’s district office at 333 East Washington Street, Room 840 in Syracuse, or call 315-428-9651.