Huntsville family hopes ‘Danny’s Law,’ named for son killed in crash, saves others from their pain

A new state law is giving law enforcement more tools to fight impaired driving.

Posted: Jun 9, 2021 6:42 PM
Updated: Jun 10, 2021 12:11 PM

A new state law is giving law enforcement more tools to fight impaired driving.

The effort to get the legislation passed was led by a North Alabama family and state senator.

The new law known as "Danny's Law" is named in honor of Danny Johnson, an Alabama A&M football player who was killed in a car accident in 2016.

His father said the other driver was under the influence of drugs.

"I had the pleasure of speaking down at the state Senate, telling them who this bill was for, why we were here, and what it could accomplish and the impact it could have on the people in the state of Alabama," said Danny Johnson, Danny's father.

Johnson said the new law could prevent another family from the same loss he went through.

Once "Danny's Law" goes into effect Aug. 1, law enforcement will be able to take saliva or other samples from drivers they believe are impaired.

Paramedics can also take samples making it simpler to determine if someone is driving under the influence of something other than alcohol.

"And they should understand if I go down that road, we already know about drinking and smoking so, there's a possibility that I could be swabbed for illicit drugs," said Johnson.

Alabama State Sen. Arthur Orr sponsored the legislation.

He said Alabama has seen a huge increase in the number of people driving under the influence of drugs.

"In today's world driving under the influence of drugs has surpassed the number of people driving under the influence of alcohol on Alabama's roadways," said Orr.

And Orr said if a driver refuses a saliva test there are harsh penalties under the law.

"If the individual refused similarly to refusing a breathalyzer test for alcohol the individual will then forfeit their right to drive," said Orr.

Johnson said the work was worth it and that on the day the bill became a law he received an outpouring of support.

"I had about 10 or 15 calls from people all over the state of Alabama. District attorneys, state legislatures," said Johnson.

Johnson said they're trying to get other nearby states to adopt "Danny's Law."

Orr said it was important to give police officers a tool that gives a quick answer to whether someone is under the influence of drugs or not.

Huntsville
Partly Cloudy
87° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 91°
Florence
Partly Cloudy
91° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 95°
Fayetteville
Partly Cloudy
87° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 91°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
86° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 91°
Scottsboro
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 88°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

 

Community Events