Bill To Keep Suspended Motorists Off Road
Days after an eight-year-old boy was fatally struck by a truck in Woodside, State Sen. Michael Gianaris announced last Monday, Dec. 23, legislation to make it a felony for any driver with a suspended license to kill or seriously injure someone in a vehicular accident.
As previously reported, Noshat Nahain died on Dec. 20 after he was hit by a turning truck at the corner of 61st Street and Northern Boulevard operated by a driver whose license had been suspended. Currently, drivers like the one involved in that tragedy can get away with only a misdemeanor.
Gianaris also proposed the immediate impoundment of the license plate of a vehicle being operated by someone with a suspended license.
The senator was joined at the announcement by two of his colleagues, State Senators Toby Ann Stavisky and Jose Peralta; City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer; Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely- White; Christian Amez from Woodside on the Move; and parents from Make Queens Safer, including Cristina Furlong.
Rep. Joseph Crowley and Assemblyman Michael DenDekker also offered their support for the proposed legislation.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Noshat Nahian, and my thoughts are with his family, friends and classmates,” said Gianaris. “Nothing is more important than protecting our children, and this tragic accident is a stark reminder that we must redouble our efforts to make our streets safer, including bringing chronically reckless drivers to justice. Alittle boy is dead because this driver was still on the road despite repeated unsafe driving violations. I am hopeful that these bills will become law and help prevent more tragedies like this one.”
“Once again, our community has endured a heartbreaking loss due to the dangerous conditions on our local roadways,” added Crowley. “The tragedy that took place when a tractor-trailer claimed the life of an 8- year-old boy in Woodside is a painful reminder that more has to be done to ensure pedestrian safety. I commend State Senator Gianaris for taking action and introducing legislation that will strengthen existing laws to protect us from reckless and irresponsible motorists who put our lives at risk. Everyone deserves to walk the streets of their own neighborhood without the fear of being struck by a vehicle. I look forward to continuing to work with our local elected officials and community advocates to prevent any more pedestrian fatalities in our city.”
“Before yet another tragedy occurs, we need a comprehensive street safety plan for the city. Speed cameras and other technologies, as well as school crossing guards, need to be included,” Peralta said. “And we need vigorous enforcement of existing traffic laws and to create new, smart laws such as the one Senator Gianaris is proposing. I’m proud to have co-sponsored the speed camera legislation. I will continue advocating for more school crossing guards. And I will work with my colleagues to ensure this bill passes.”
“Eight years ago, I sponsored Vasean’s Law which eliminated the need to prove criminal negligence in vehicular manslaughter cases involving drunk driving. The assumption is that the driver’s intoxication caused the death or injury,” Stavisky said. “This concept must be extended to reckless driving. Noshat Nahian deserved to make it to school that day, and to live a long and full life. We must not rest until these tragedies are a thing of the past, and that’s why I’ve joined my colleagues in supporting Senator Gianaris’ bill for tougher penalties for unlicensed drivers. This is an issue far too important to ignore.”
“With the implementation of this bill we will be able to prevent countless fatal collisions that have claimed the lives of innocent victims like 8-year-old Noshat Nashian in Woodside,” Van Bramer said. “No pedestrian should fear losing their life while walking on our City’s streets. I look forward to working with the State Senator at the City-level and will continue to advocate for the implementation of traffic safety improvements that will help put an end to pedestrian fatalities here in western Queens.”
“Suspended license drivers threaten our kids and kill scores of New Yorkers every year. For deterrence and prevention, this long overdue, common sense legislation must pass the State Senate and Assembly as soon as possible,” said Steely-White.