MEDFORD - A step forward was taken in Albany to crack down on dangerous motorists who drive with suspended or revoked licenses.

The state Senate unanimously passed the S4649A Suspended or Revoked Driving bill that would increase penalties for suspended drivers who injure or kill someone.

The bill would increase the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony. It would also hike the punishment from six months in jail to four to seven years in state prison.

"Driving is a privilege, it's not a right, and I think we would all agree that we have too many examples, too many tragedies," says state Sen. Jack Martins.

Martins says the state Assembly Transportation Committee, which has long been reluctant to increase prison penalties, has let similar bills die without a vote.  He says he hopes that the Assembly will take up the bill and "do the right thing."

The bill is still awaiting a vote in the state Assembly's Transportation Committee.