Soon after cyclist Aaron Padwee was tragically run over and killed by an unlicensed truck driver in Long Island City, a local lawmaker demanded that the state legislature pass increased penalties against reckless, unlicensed drivers.
On May 30, a day after the deadly crash, Gianaris called for assembly passage of legislation that would increase the penalty for reckless drivers from a misdemeanor to a felony. Under the senator’s bill, the penalty for drivers who operate a vehicle with suspended, revoked or no license would be increased to a Class E felony if a person is seriously injured and a Class D felony if the incident results in death.
“While we are still learning the details of this horrific crash, we know that not enough is being done to deliver justice to the victims of traffic crashes. Dangerous, suspended drivers pose a threat to public safety due to laws that do not treat these offenses seriously enough. If this driver’s suspension was due to reckless driving, we face another preventable tragedy. We must be serious about strengthening our laws to keep these menaces off the roads,” said Gianaris.
In April 2018, the senator’s legislation passed unanimously in the New York State Senate, and is currently awaiting action in the assembly. If it gets assembly approval, it will get sent to the governor who will either sign or veto the bill.
The crash happened on May 29 when 45-year-old Padwee was riding his bike on 21st Street and 46th Avenue in Long Island City. The unsuspecting cyclist was hit by a car door after a driver opened it into oncoming traffic. Padwee was then flung into the street and run over by a box truck driver.
Padwee succumbed to his injuries at New York-Presbyterian/Queens hospital in Flushing. The operator of the truck, Augustin Osorio, 32, was arrested and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle in the third degree for allegedly driving his vehicle without a valid license.