A pair of
Maine state lawmakers wants to get tough on the state’s worst drivers.
Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, and Rep.
Darlene Curley, R-Scarborough, unveiled legislation Nov. 21 that would allow
harsher penalties for multiple driving offenses, including longer license
suspensions and jail time.
The effort is in response to a fatal
accident this summer on Interstate 95 in Hallowell, ME, involving a tractor-trailer
and a car. Trucker Scott Hewitt is blamed for the crash, which killed
40-year-old Tina Turcotte of Scarborough, ME, on July 29.
After the wreck, The Associated Press reported Hewitt has
63 driving convictions and 22 suspensions in Maine and other states. He also
had been involved in a previous fatal accident.
Hewitt’s Maine license and registration
were both under suspension at the time of the July accident, and there were
outstanding warrants for his arrest, the Portland
Press Herald reported.
Diamond said more than 8,000 drivers in
the state have at least 15 license suspensions, and more than 44,000 have had
their licenses suspended five to nine times.
His proposal would require drivers caught
with a suspended license to have their vehicles impounded for the duration of
the suspension. Drivers with repeated suspensions in a three-year period would
have their license revoked for a period ranging from one to 10 years, and could
be sent to jail if caught driving during that time.
It would also mandate jail time and fines
up to $5,000 for repeat offenders, and raise the penalties for people driving
on a suspended license who are involved in an accident that causes injury or
legislation will be discussed during the regular legislative session that
begins in January.
Hewitt remains in the Kennebec County Jail
awaiting trial on nine misdemeanor charges he faces in connection with the July