Ridgewood pol wants to increase penalties for drivers without valid license

Ridgewood state senator Michael Gianaris is calling for legislation to increase penalties for drivers without valid licenses involved in traffic injuries or deaths.

His demand comes after 13-year-old Ridgewood teen Kevin Flores was fatally struck by Philip Monfoletto of Deer Park, a trucker who didn’t have a valid license. Flores was riding his bike when the incident occurred.

Under current law, most cases sought by the district attorney end in a misdemeanor. The most severe offenses will lead to a Class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.

Gianaris’s bill would increase the penalty to a Class E felony for injuring a person, and a Class D felony if it ends in a death.

“This accident is yet another avoidable tragedy caused by a driver who should not have been behind the wheel to begin with,” Gianaris said. “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.”