BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
The state Senate has unanimously passed state Sen. Senator Michael Gianaris’ (D-Astoria) bill that would increase the penalties for drivers who kill while driving with an invalid license.
Gianaris’ bill follows the death of 8-year-old Noshat Nahian, who died on the day before Christmas break while on his way to his Woodside elementary school. Nahian was run over by the back wheels of a truck being operated by an unlicensed driver.
Gianaris said that the death of Ridgewood’s Kevin Flores, 13, earlier this year at the hands of an unlicensed driver also prompted him to push the bill.
“I am pleased the Senate passed this important proposal, which is the first step towards delivering justice for families victimized by reckless motorists,” said Gianaris. “These dangerous drivers continue to kill because the current punishment does not fit the crime. We must get serious about strengthening our laws before another life is lost at the hands of drivers who should not be behind the wheel.”
The current laws classify such incidents as misdemeanors, resulting in little to no jail time, despite the number of infractions on drivers’ records.
Gianaris’ bill, if passed by the Assembly, would increase the penalty to a class E felony for injuring a person or a class D felony if a person dies as a result of the incident.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144, firstname.lastname@example.org or @reporter_ariel.