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Boating hit and run bill passes senate

Legislation makes penalties similar to fleeing the scene of a motor vehicle accident

Senator John A. DeFrancisco announced that the New York State Senate has passed a bill he sponsored (S6657) which would increase penalties for boaters who leave the scene of a boating accident without making a report. The legislation would make the penalties consistent with the penalties that can be imposed for leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident.

"Two tragic boating accidents occurred on Central New York lakes last summer. One took place on Skaneateles Lake and the other on Oneida Lake," said Senator DeFrancisco. "What's disturbing about both of these instances is that the reckless boaters who were responsible for the accidents fled the scenes without calling for help, offering assistance to the injured boaters or notifying authorities. Sadly, both accidents claimed the lives of the injured that were left behind."

"The current penalties for leaving the scene of a boating accident are weak. We've increased penalties for leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident to protect motorists on our roadways. It's time we did the same to protect boaters on our waterways. If the boaters who caused the accidents on Oneida and Skaneateles Lakes had stopped to assist the victims, or called the authorities for help, would the three victims who lost their lives still be alive? Irresponsible boaters, like reckless motorists, need to be held accountable for their actions. These boating tragedies are evidence that there needs to be consequences for leaving the scene of a boating accident and failing to report it. If these individuals had called to report the accidents, the outcomes may have been different," concluded Senator DeFrancisco.

If enacted into the law, the measure would increase the penalties for leaving the scene of a boating accident when a person knows or should know there has been an injury to another person. A first offense would be an A misdemeanor and a second offense within five years of the first offense would be an E felony. When a serious injury or death occurs as a result of the accident, the penalty would increase from an E felony to a D felony.

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