NYS Assembly: Hold Deadly Unlicensed Drivers Responsible - Pass Bill A3759
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Speaker Carl Heastie and the NYS Assembly: Pass Bill A3759 and stop letting deadly unlicensed drivers off the hook! Sign this petition.
On January 26, 2018, 13 year-old Kevin Flores was run over and killed by an oil truck driver in Brooklyn. This deadly driver was operating his 50 ton vehicle while his NYS Driver's License was under suspension. In fact, his license was suspended seven times previously (according to reports) and the month before he took Kevin's life he was cited for driving with a suspended license.
Due to weak NYS law, the criminal who killed Kevin will likely walk away from the misdemeanor charges with paying a few hundred dollar fine and have his driving privileges restored at some point. That's it! A young life was taken and the suspended license driver who took it will walk away scot-free.
Sadly, this is the rule rather than the exception. Every day, unlicensed drivers across NYS kill and maim yet go unpunished due to weak state law. Take the case of 8 month old Navraj Raju whose mother was pushing him in a stroller on a Queens sidewalk when an unlicensed operator backed his van over the baby, killing him.
The criminal disposition of that case? The driver received a $300 fine. That's it. A baby's life taken before it even had a chance to start and his killer walks away with barely a slap on the wrist.
There was no criminality, according to Queens County D.A. officials:
"Officials said despite the severity of the situation, the crash wasn't a result of criminality, which is why the judge gave him a light punishment."
Current NYS law provides mere misdemeanor charges for these deadly drivers. As a result, you can knowingly get behind the wheel without a license, kill another and pay only a small fine then walk away with no other punishment.
Fortunately, there is legislation, passed annually (almost unanimously) by the NYS Senate and sponsored by Sen. Michael Gianaris, that calls for stronger criminal charges (felony instead of misdemeanor) and fines. However, it must also be passed by the NYS Assembly where it is sponsored and championed by Assembly Member Aravella Simotas. Sadly, the bill (A3759) sits in the Assembly's Codes Committee where it is never discussed and doesn't merit a vote that would advance the important legislation to the rest of the body for passage.
Unlicensed drivers are deadly drivers. One in five fatal car crashes involve an unlicensed or suspended license driver. 8,400 people are killed every year in such crashes and many times more are seriously injured. It's time to provide more appropriate consequences for those who take lives and cause catastrophic injuries. Sign this petition and tell the NYS Assembly that Bill A3759 must pass during this legislative session!
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