A woman from Shelbyville crashed head-on into another driver. After being transferred to the hospital, it was later reported the victim sustained two facial fractures and required extensive surgery. When police arrived on scene, they suspected the Shelbyville resident had been drinking alcohol when they found open beers and whiskey bottles in her car. The driver very quickly gave up on a field sobriety test.
After running her license and registration, it was found the drunk driver had 16 prior charges for driving under the influence. The 59-year-old drunk driver had DUI arrests on record dating back to 1985, six of which were from the last decade. Additionally, she had been convicted 15 times for driving with a suspended license. When addressing the officer’s astonishment and concern, the drunk driver said “I know, I know, that is what everybody says, I know.” She was promptly taken to jail.
Once there, it was reported that she was so dehydrated from consuming too much alcohol, paramedics were unable to draw blood for a blood-alcohol test. She was released after posting a $75,000 bail. The victim felt she received no justice and released a statement to NY Daily News that letting the drunk driver out of jail would only leave her free to drive under the influence for the 18th time.
ARE TENNESSEE SUSPENDED LICENSE LAWS TOO LENIENT?
When driving with a suspended license in Tennessee, you may get pulled over for a simple traffic stop or simply by a police officer passively running your license plate number. At that point, you may be arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license, whether or not you knew it was suspended. The consequences for driving on a suspended license include the following:
- The first offense is a Class B Misdemeanor, which can potentially result in a $500 fine and up to six months in jail
- The second offense is a Class A misdemeanor, which can potentially result in a $2,500 fine and up to one year in jail
- Any offense occurring after the second within a 10-year period can potentially result in a $2,500 fine, a year in jail and you may have your license revoked
However, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that more than 19 percent of all fatal car accidents involve drivers with invalid licenses. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found 28 percent of these lawbreaking drivers had three or more license suspensions.
Bottom line is these numbers of fatal car accidents caused by drivers with suspended or invalid licenses is too high. The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators speculate that suspending licenses is not effective because the costs of arresting offenders, processing them, administering charges and enforcing the laws is too high, while the fines are too low to support making it a priority in the eyes of law enforcement. However, this is a serious issue and law enforcement needs to treat it as such. Perhaps making consequences more severe by increasing fines and jail time might make it more worthwhile for law enforcement to crack down on drivers with suspended licenses.
Stanley A. Davis is a Nashville personal injury lawyer attorney who fights for victims of who have been injured by a drunk driver in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Humble yourself therefor under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6-7