Senator Bruce Tarr (R) of Gloucester recently filed a bill which would dramatically increase the penalties for Habitual Traffic Offenders in Massachusetts. If enacted, Senate Bill 2012, “an act promoting motor vehicle safety.” would increase the current 4 year habitual traffic offender revocation period to 5 years. It would also create tiers of certain habitual traffic offenders, who would be subjected to longer license revocations, ranging from 15 years to lifetime.
The Bill is being proposed in response to an accident which occurred last month and took the life of a 17 year old Taunton, Massachusetts resident who was struck and killed while riding his skateboard. The defendant, who was charged with motor vehicle homicide, had his license revoked 16 times in 22 years.
Under the proposed law, persons with prior habitual traffic offender revocations who have not had their licenses reinstated from the revocations, within the past 5 years, will be designated level 1 habitual traffic offenders. Level 1 offenders will pick up new habitual traffic offender revocations, ranging from 5 years to lifetime, if they are convicted of DUI, reckless driving, negligent operation, leaving the scene of a personal injury or property damage accident, operating after suspension or revocation, driving without a license, or the commission of a felony involving a motor vehicle.
Prior Habitual Traffic Offenders who accumulate 3 or more convictions of violations which trigger license suspensions of 30 days or more will be labeled level 2 habitual traffic offenders and lose their licenses from 5 to 15 years. Prior Habitual Traffic Offenders who have been reinstated for 5 years prior to the accumulation of the 3 or more convictions referenced above will be exempt from these revocations and will not be considered level 2 offenders.
Level 3 Habitual Traffic Offenders will have their licenses revoked for at least 5 years up to life. A level 3 Habitual Traffic Offender is a Level 2 Habitual Traffic Offender who has not had his or her license restored for 5 years after completing the HTO revocation and is convicted of DUI, reckless driving, negligent operation, making a false statement in a Registry application for a registration or a license, leaving the scene of a property damage or personal injury accident, driving on a suspended or revoked license, driving without a license, or committing a felony involving the use of a motor vehicle, or 2 or more violations which trigger a suspension of 30 days or more.
Once someone is designated as Level 3 Offender, the Registry can revoke his or her license for any period, up to life, if the person commits any automobile law violation anytime after reinstatement from the 5 year to life revocation which the Registry will impose upon Level 3 offenders.
Prior to reinstatement from revocations which range from 5 years to lifetime, all habitual traffic offenders will be required to complete a driver improvement course and pass written and road tests.