Local Family Testifies at Assembly Public Hearing on Dangerous and Reckless Drivers

January 24, 2004

New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Codes Committee Chair Joe Lentol and Transportation Committee Chair David Gantt held a Public Hearing in the Legislative Office Building on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 to hear testimony and examine ways to eliminate deaths and injuries caused by reckless or negligent drivers. Assemblymember Kevin Cahill was present during a portion of this important forum and was privileged to meet with Brian and Cindy O’Connor, residents of Olivebridge, who presented oral testimony.

The O’Connors tragically lost their son Kevin on June 18, 2002 when the operator of a motor vehicle apparently fell asleep and struck Kevin as he did yard work at his family’s business on Route 28. Courageously, the couple, their family and friends have become strong and vocal advocates for measures that would address the complex issue of driver responsibility and culpability.

This hearing explored possible steps to help curb automobile deaths and injuries caused by motorists who drive with careless disregard for the lives and safety of others, including changing state criminal and civil laws that would be most effective in preventing additional motor vehicle deaths and injuries, analyzing traffic safety design measures that have been effective in New York to date and enforcement options.

"I commend the O’Connors for the courage, determination, strength and perseverance they have demonstrated in their efforts to turn a deeply sad personal tragedy into a mission for the betterment of society," Assemblymember Cahill stated. "New York has made significant progress in recent years in reducing deaths and serious injuries caused by motor vehicles but it is clear that much more needs to be done," he concluded.