Greek-American New York Senator Michael Gianaris has called on colleagues to pass a bill which will increase the penalty for a driver who kills or injures someone while driving with a suspended or invalid license.
Gianaris’ call came after a 13-year old boy in Queens was killed after being struck by a truck driver who did not have a valid license.
Currently, the most severe penalty a District Attorney can seek in such instances is a misdemeanor, according to the New York Senate. The most severe offense is a class-E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.
However, convicted drivers are rarely sentenced to any jail time at all and are free to commit additional offenses. The perpetrator in this case had been arrested multiple times in the past for the same offense and was still driving improperly.
“This accident is yet another avoidable tragedy caused by a driver who should not have been behind the wheel to begin with,” said Gianaris. “Too many lives have been lost at the hands of drivers whose licenses are suspended or otherwise invalid because the punishment does not match the crime.”