Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Unlicensed drivers could be penalized


ST. PAUL -- Sue Vanek could hardly believe it when she was told of the charges facing the unlicensed driver who hit the vehicle carrying her 24-year-old daughter and young granddaughter, injuring both critically.

The Brainerd woman told a House committee that surely a motorist behind the wheel illegally -- and with a long list of previous offenses, including multiple instances of driving without a valid license -- would face more than a pair of misdemeanors. But that is what happened.

“How can a drunk driver be treated differently than a reckless, unlicensed driver when they’re both on the road illegally?” Vanek asked.

Under a bill sponsored by Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, that won initial committee approval, those consequences for unlicensed drivers could become more costly. There is no Senate companion bill.


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