Alix's Law, the proposed law named in memory of Alexandria "Alix" Rice, was unanimously passed by New York State Senate with a 57-0 vote Monday.
The legislation would not allow a suspect to be cleared of leaving the scene of an accident, even if they claim they did not know they hit something.
18-year-old Alix Rice was killed by Doctor James Corasanti in a hit-and-run accident in the summer of 2011.
Despite being convicted of DWI, he was not convicted of leaving the scene of an accident.
“Intoxicated drivers are arguably the most likely to flee the scene of an accident to avoid being caught driving under the influence, and due to their intoxication and diminished awareness, they are also the least likely to know if they have struck an object or a person,” said Senator Gallivan. “This bill will close a dangerous loophole in the state’s vehicle and traffic law, and give prosecutors the tools necessary to ensure that intoxicated drivers are held accountable for the tragic outcomes of their actions.”
“It is terrible enough that some individuals choose to drink and drive, but compounding that crime by leaving the scene of an accident is absolutely unacceptable,” Senate Republican Conference Leader Dean G. Skelos said. “Current law does not go far enough to address this issue, however, Alix’s Law would fix it and trigger appropriate penalties for violators.”
The current law only requires drivers to report an accident when they know or have reason to know the accident resulted in an injury or property damage.
Under this loophole, drunk drivers are able to flee the scene of an accident they caused and later claim they did not know any injury or damage occurred.
Alix’s Law would close that loophole so that drunk drivers are held responsible for leaving the scene of an accident.
In the wake of Alix Rice's death, organizations like Rockin’ For Rice and the Alix Rice Peace Park Foundation have formed to increase awareness about the issue of drunk driving and to raise funds towards the establishment of a community skate park in recognition of Alix’s love of longboarding.
“This and other heartbreaking stories of drunk driving fatalities have really shined a light on a major problem we are facing in Western New York and across the State -- but it has also lit a spark,” said Senator Gallivan. “The outpouring of activism in Alix’s name has been remarkable and I hope this law will be enacted this year as fitting tribute to a young woman who’s story has inspired so many.”
Alix’s Law passed the New York State Senate in 2012 before being held up in the Assembly.
The bill was sent to the Assembly.