Wisconsin lawmaker proposing stiffer penalties for uninsured, unlicensed drivers

NOW: Wisconsin lawmaker proposing stiffer penalties for uninsured, unlicensed drivers

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Wisconsin Representative Joe Sanfelippo is introducing legislation that would crack down on uninsured and unlicensed drivers.

“We have to do something to protect the public,” Rep. Sanfelippo said.

He is hoping tougher penalties will make people think twice before getting behind the wheel.

“It’s a public safety issue, and it’s getting worse every year,” he said.

On Nov. 6, a Kenosha driver caused a crash on I-94 that shut down part of the interstate for ten hours.

CBS 58 exclusively obtained records showing that the driver—Angel Santiago—had a suspended license and no insurance. He was ticketed $200.50 for each of those offenses and is not required to appear in court.

“It’s a huge problem and it’s because the penalty really isn’t stiff enough,” Rep. Sanfelippo said.

In February, Terron Clayborn hit and killed Milwaukee DPW worker Bryan Rodriguez.

Clayborn was driving with a suspended license.

“He was a guy that had been ticketed 31 times for driving without a driver’s license and was still driving on the road,” Rep. Sanfelippo said. “He faced no penalties and Mr. Rodriguez is dead as a result.”

Representative Sanfelippo’s bill would require impounding a driver’s car if they are caught driving without a license. It would also increase the fine for driving without insurance and require drivers prove to the state that they obtain and keep the insurance. If the insurance policy is not maintained for two years, the driver’s license would be suspended.

Representative Sanfelippo tried introducing similar bills twice before, but they failed. He said this topic is the number one issue constituents contact him about, but some groups say the bill targets lower income people. Rep. Sanfelippo says it’s a non-partisan issue that is about making Wisconsin roads safer.

“Driving is a privilege,” he said. “If you want to drive you have to have a license and you have to have insurance.”

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