Proposed Massachusetts Bill Would Keep Roads Safer

Safety advocates applaud proposed legislation that would permanently revoke the driver's licenses of the worst habitual traffic offenders. The new legislation comes as a response to a fatal hit-and-run accident in Taunton, Massachusetts. Protecting the public from drunk driver accidents is one goal of the proposed law.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and House Minority Leader Brad Jones proposed a bill that would create a three-tiered system of license suspension for habitual offenders. Two additional levels would be added to the current law. Each new level would become progressively more severe.

The bill is a direct response to an accident where a 17-year-old was hit and killed while riding his skateboard. The man who hit the boy fled the scene of the accident. This particular driver had been arrested twice for drunk driving, ticketed six times for speeding, been involved in nine serious accidents and had been convicted of refusing to obey officers. Over a 22-year period, his driver's license had been suspended 16 times.

Currently under Massachusetts law, the driver's license of a habitual traffic offender can be suspended for up to four years. A habitual traffic offender designation generally comes after a driver has three or more serious driving offenses, including but not limited to, driving while intoxicated, reckless or negligent driving or leaving the scene of an accident.

Proposed Tiers

The proposed bill would increase the revocation period from four to five years for a habitual traffic offender and create two new tiers. The increased penalties in the new tiers would be:

  • Level 2. A habitual offender who has already had a license revocation would be subject to a second license revocation from five to 15 years.
  • Level 3. A potential lifetime ban would be available for the most serious repeat offenders who have had previous suspensions.

The registrar of motor vehicle would have the ability to attach additional terms and conditions they deem necessary when returning the license to a habitual traffic offender.

If you are injured by someone who may have a habitual traffic offender designation contact a Massachusetts car accident lawyer to discuss your available remedies. This proposed legislation is a step in the right direction and will help to take dangerous drivers off the roads.