It’s been almost 10 years since MaryJo Heitkamp-France lost her daughter Tiffany in a drunk boating crash near Old Forge in the Adirondacks.

Since her daughter’s tragic death at the age of 20, Heitkamp-France has been working to change the way a New York state law is written.

Although the driver of the boat, Kier Weimer, had past drunk-driving offenses on his record, the judge did not take them into consideration when sentencing him.

A few days ago, the bill for Tiffany Heitkamp’s Law was passed by the New York State Legislature. The law will require a judge to consider previous drunk-driving offenses involving a boat or car.

For several years in a row, the bill was passed by the state Senate, but not the state Assembly.

Heitkamp-France says she has tried to understand for years why drunk driving of any motor vehicle was not held to the same severity.

She says drinking and driving of any vehicle needs to stop.

“We need to continue talking about it,” Heitkamp-France said. “There’s always going to be more kids coming up. These kids are in high school and they’re going off to college and they feel like they’re invincible. It’s the time of their life. It’s almost a right of passage to go and celebrate and have a great time. They don’t think and they don’t listen.”

Heitkamp-France says she hopes there comes a day when the law will require the judge to consider all past offenses for driving drunk, whether it’s a car, a boat, a motorcycle, a snowmobile or an ATV.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Heitkamp-France. “It’s making change and in the future we can amend that and we can add to it, slowly, but surely.”

MaryJo has made peace with Weimer, the drunk boater who killed her daughter.

She says blame cannot be placed on anyone.

Everyone made the same mistake 10 years ago when getting on that boat.

“I clearly did not have a clear conversation with my daughter at that stage because look at the choice she made,” Heitkamp-France. “There were six people on that boat and they all made the same choice and one did not make it.”

It’s been nearly a decade, but her passion to spark change and influence safer choices is not slowing down.

Heitkamp-France and Weimer have already shared their story to a group of students and they plan to raise more awareness about all forms of drunk-driving.

“If we can share our story and leave a lasting impact both with parents to have the conversation,” Heitkamp-France said. “And students to listen and understand this is what happens, this is what’s left behind, that everybody has to pick up those broken pieces and live with it.”