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Newly-signed 'Nick's Law' holds unlicensed drivers responsible

A fatal motorcycle accident seven years ago claimed the life of the son of the former Greendale chief of police. The motorcycle crash was caused by an unlicensed driver whose maximum punishment was two traffic tickets. The tickets went unpaid.

A media investigation found that the driver who caused the death of the son of the author of "Nick's Law" continued to drive without a valid license two years after the fatal 2005 motorcycle crash.

The father of the accident victim spent the last half-dozen years pushing the Wisconsin legislature to pass "Nick's Law," a bill designed to hold unlicensed drivers responsible for accident. The bill was recently signed by Gov. Scott Walker. The battle for passage of the proposed legislation met with repeated resistance until this year, when the bill attracted strong lawmaker support.

Unlicensed drivers are considered to be some of the most dangerous drivers. Police discover over 100,000 motorists each year in Wisconsin who drive without a license. The new law makes it a felony for unlicensed drivers to cause severe injuries or death in a motor vehicle accident.

Those affected by the newly-signed legislation include drivers who have never been licensed to drive a motor vehicle, drivers with suspended licenses and motor vehicle operators whose licenses have been revoked.

The victim's father was pleased that bi-partisan lawmakers rallied around the bill for "Nick's Law." The former Greendale police chief said he worked hard to change the traffic law in memory of his son, but also wanted to use his influence to help other families who had lost loved ones to the actions of unlicensed drivers.

Source:, "Gov. Walker signs 'Nick's Law' that gets tough on unlicensed, revoked drivers," Bryan Polcyn, Dec. 15, 2011

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