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Keller @ Large: Problem Handling Dangerous Drivers

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Paul Baran pleaded not guilty August 8 in Taunton District Court.

Paul Baran pleaded not guilty August 8 in Taunton District Court.

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Did you know that under existing Massachusetts law, you apparently can’t permanently revoke the driving privileges of a dangerous driver?

No, I am not kidding.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

According to the State House News Service, “habitual traffic offenders can be denied a driver’s license for up to four years if they have been convicted at least three times of committing one or more enumerated offenses, or if they have been convicted of 12 or more offenses that carry a 30-day license suspension.”

I repeat, “12 or more offenses.”

And what are those “enumerated offenses”?

They include reckless driving, DWI, leaving the scene of an accident, driving while committing a felony, and my personal favorite, driving without a license.

So, to recap, in Massachusetts, you can lose your license for up to four years if you are convicted at least three times of… driving without a license.

What’s wrong with this picture?

It apparently allows the likes of Paul Baran, a 55-year-old Taunton resident arrested in June for an alleged fatal hit and run on a 17-year-old boy, to be on the road with a valid license despite a driving record that includes nine serious accidents, leaving the scene of an accident, and 15 prior license suspensions.

There’s a new bill being pushed on Beacon Hill that would toughen the law somewhat, but nowhere near enough.

I say, if you get caught driving recklessly and endangering others twice, you should lose your license permanently.

You are a threat to public safety, you were given a second chance, and you blew it, end of story.

But for whatever reason, most likely the clout of the defense lawyer lobby at the State House, that won’t happen.

We’ll continue to give extreme benefit of the doubt to what amounts to homicidal maniacs among us wielding deadly weapons.

Like the 20-something guy I saw blowing through a red light at a busy intersection yesterday, at high speed with phone in hand.

Only a matter of time before he kills someone, hopefully just himself.

Will the state dare to take away his license even then?

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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