Days after 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was struck and killed by a tractor trailer, state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) began drafting legislation that would make it a felony when drivers with a suspended license kill or seriously injure someone. The driver of the truck was operating the vehicle with a suspended license.
As it stands, drivers like the one involved in the death of Nahian can get away with a misdemeanor. Gianaris also proposed the immediate impoundment of the license plate of a vehicle being operated by someone with a suspended license.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Noshat Nahian, and my thoughts are with his family, friends and classmates,” Gianaris said at a press conference on Dec. 23, held on the corner where Nahian died. “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.”
Nahian was walking to school on Dec. 20 with his 11-year-old sister in Woodside. As he attempted to cross Northern Boulevard at the intersection of 61st Street, a tractor trailer made a left-hand turn.
The rear wheels ran over Nahian though his sister was left unharmed.
“A little boy is dead because this driver was still on the road despite repeated unsafe driving violations,” Gianaris said. “I am hopeful that these bills will become law and help prevent more tragedies like this one.”
Gianaris was joined by Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Bronx, Queens), fellow state Sens. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and Paul Steely-White, executive director of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.
“I have attended far too many events honoring and commemorating those killed by unsafe driving,” Stavisky said. “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. 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.”
There is no set date for the bill to be brought to the floor but Steely-White was happy that something was being done.
“Suspended license drivers threaten our kids and kill scores of New Yorkers every year,” he said. “For deterrence and prevention, this long overdue, common sense legislation must pass the state Senate and Assembly as soon as possible.”