was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Monday.
Co-sponsored by Assemblyman Paul Moriarty and Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera, the bills is inspired by Donato-Bolis after she was killed in a car crash on June 1, 2011 by an allegedly distracted driver. Helen Kulesh was killed in an crash by a driver illegally using a cellphone and both David and Linda Kubert were severely injured when the motorcycle they were riding was hit by a man who
was texting and driving.
The bill, which has already been approved by both the Senate and Assembly Law and Public Safety Committees, will give prosecutors the legal tools yhey need to charge drivers who cause severe injury or death due to illegal cell phone use with vehicular homicide or assault by auto. It was approved unanimously and will now move to the full Assembly.
Currently, illegal cellphone use is considered "careless" driving under state law, a lesser charge than "reckless." A traffic violation must be considered reckless to justify criminal charges.
The man who crashed into Donato-Bolis, Daniel Periera, was not charged criminally.
“Too many people have lost their lives at the hands of drivers who were
distracted while talking on, texting or checking their cell phones,” said
Moriarty in a press release. “Taking your eyes off the road even for a few
seconds to check your cell phone could make the difference between life and
death, and for some of these families, it did in the most tragic way. Enough is