Assemblyman Felix Ortiz says he has drafted a new bill that would toughen the penalty for drivers who text behind the wheel.
It comes on the heels of an accident in which a 53-year-old man was hit and critically injured Sunday night when a woman struck him with her car as he sat on his delivery scooter at Avenue P and East 17th Street in Midwood.
Tian Sheng Lin is on life support at Kings County Hospital and a lawyer for his family says he is not expected to recover.
Under the current law, drivers face a fine if they are caught texting while driving. Ortiz, who wrote the first bill, says in cases where the victim dies or is seriously injured, the perpetrator should be charged with a felony.
“When you have a person that is under the influence of DUI and passes a stop sign or a red light, then one plus one equals two so they get two sentences instead of one and it gets classified as a homicide. So my bill is going to be within the same lines regarding cell phones and text messaging,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz says a few senators have already expressed interest in cosponsoring the legislation.