Serial speeders

Our view: Irresponsible, unsafe drivers shouldn't be allowed to renew licenses

April 01, 2009

If Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration chief John Kuo doesn't believe he has the power to keep a driver's license from Frederick Henry Hensen Jr. and other serial speeders, he hasn't read the law.

The state's transportation article says quite plainly the MVA "may suspend, revoke, or refuse to issue or renew the license" of any driver "who has been convicted of moving violations so often as to indicate an intent to disregard the traffic laws and the safety of other persons on the highways" or "is an unfit, unsafe, or habitually reckless or negligent driver."

Mr. Hensen's driving record surely puts him in the category of habitually reckless or negligent. As The Baltimore Sun's Michael Dresser reported this week, Mr. Hensen's driving record has included a 1999 conviction for automobile manslaughter in the death of a Carroll County mother, 33 points for more than a dozen traffic tickets and, since 2003, four speeding convictions. Mr. Kuo says the MVA is "limited" in its ability to revoke and suspend the license of the 32-year-old driver he calls a "menace to highway safety." But here's a suggestion: Don't renew Mr. Hensen's license. That's permitted under the state's transportation law, and why hasn't Mr. Kuo done just that?

Mr. Hensen faces charges of reckless driving and driving on a suspended license when he appears in Carroll County Circuit Court on Wednesday. Marylanders who routinely violate the rules of the road threaten the safety of law-abiding motorists. They need to know that driving in this state is a privilege, not a right.

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