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Don Briggs
Don Briggs
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Dangerous Drivers and Suspended Licenses: Who Will Keep Them Off Maine's Roads?

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A recent article published in the Portland Press Herald reports that, every day, thousands of Mainers get behind the wheel with suspended licenses, but according to court records, law enforcement catches about only about a dozen of them. The chances of getting caught are slim unless the driver is pulled over for some other reason, and many people simply decide it’s worth the risk. For others, alcohol and drug abuse evokes behavior that is unlikely to change for those who refuse to seek treatment. However, whether the
suspensions come from habitual speeding, reckless driving, or alcohol consumption, it’s no surprise that people who have had their right to drive revoked for disregarding traffic laws in the past are also likely to disregard the laws telling them not to drive.

Alton E. Grover Jr., is a perfect example of what Maine law enforcement is up against. This article tells the story Grover’s story and how explains how, at 58 years old, he’s racked up at least 36 traffic-related convictions, been on drugs while driving, and caused at least two crashes in which someone was hurt.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“In 2006, Grover’s driving problems intensified. That February he was convicted of operating under the influence. In May he was convicted of driving while his license was suspended. And in August he was convicted of driving without a license and was sentenced to 48 hours in jail. Those three convictions made Grover a “habitual offender,” a license status that meant Grover would face stiffer penalties if he were pulled over again by police. But because of paperwork delays in the court system and at the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles, more than five months passed before the state officially reclassified Grover as a habitual offender. In the meantime, Grover was arrested, again, for driving with a suspended license. Had the state moved more quickly, Grover would have received a minimum sentence of six months in jail under “Tina’s Law,” the 2006 overhaul of Maine’s traffic statutes. Instead, he got a five-day jail term.”

Tina’s Law is a prime example not only of the pain and suffering that bad drivers have caused in Maine, but also of the important legislative efforts that have been made to get these people off the road. But good laws aren’t good enough, we must also enforce them. That means getting ahead of bureaucratic backlog so laws like Tina’s Law from working the way they were intended.