Assemblywoman calls for passage of bills to curb dangerous driving

Approaching the end of her first term, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C-Brooklyn, Staten Island) is pushing to increase penalties on drunk and dangerous drivers. The assemblywoman is urging her Assembly colleagues to pass A.6878, the first piece of legislation Malliotakis introduced immediately after being sworn into the Legislature, which would create a three-strike rule for repeat drunk drivers. The bill would attempt to curb the rash of drunk driving accidents, which claim the lives of more than 350 New Yorkers every year, by:

* Automatically revoking a driver’s license for 10 years upon one’s third DWI conviction;

* Immediately suspending one’s vehicle registration and revoking license plates while the license is invalidated; and

* Immediately suspending one’s vehicle registration and revoking license plates for any convicted drunk driver caught driving with a suspended license.

An example of drunk driving recidivism presented itself last summer when Staten Island resident Charles Pelicone was convicted of driving while intoxicated for a third time. Sadly, Pelicone had lost his own son four years earlier to a drunk driving accident.

Additionally, Malliotakis is calling for the passage of Assembly bill 3350, which would increase the penalties for drivers who leave the scene of an accident without stopping or reporting it from a Class A Misdemeanor to a Class E Felony. The legislation would also increase penalties from a Class E Felony to a Class D Felony for repeat offenders and hit-and-run drivers who injure others. Under the proposed law, drivers who flee from the scene of an accident where someone was killed would face a Class C Felony charge.

A man was killed by a hit-and-run driver this past Monday night in Assemblywoman Malliotakis’ district. 33-year old Amjad Barakat was struck while crossing 72nd Street at 7th Avenue and died at the scene. This happened just three months subsequent to 29-year-old Ronald Tillam being struck and killed while riding his bicycle home from Wagner College after a late night of studying on campus. The drivers of both cars have still not been located.

“Anyone that would get behind the wheel and gamble with the lives of others on the road deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said Malliotakis. “With the holiday weekend coming up, now is the most important time to focus on safety for drivers and pedestrians. Whether it’s a repeat drunk driver, or a person who flees the scene of a crime, the message must be loud and clear – reckless drivers will end up behind bars.”