Concord, NH - Behind the leadership of Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, the New Hampshire Senate today passed legislation to increase the penalties for drivers who operate a motor vehicle without a license. Stiles worked with her legislative colleagues over the last week to ensure passage of the legislation, which follows the tragic death of two cyclists in Stiles’ hometown of Hampton.
“It’s clear a significant amount of misinformation made its way into the conversation about this bill over the last few weeks,” said Sen. Stiles, “I’m happy we were able to set the record straight and come together to unanimously pass this legislation to strengthen our unlicensed driver laws and better protect all those who use our state’s roadways.”
Under a floor amendment offered by Senator Stiles to further clarify the intent of the legislation, a person operating a motor vehicle who has never had a driver’s license would be guilty of a class B misdemeanor, as opposed to a simple traffic violation as is the law currently. Not only does the misdemeanor carry stiffer penalties, it also gives law enforcement the ability to remove a driver from the road to protect the public.
“The accident in Hampton last September exposed a weakness in our current laws,” continued Stiles, “and while I am confident the driver in that instance will be held accountable through the justice system for her actions, I think it is imperative that we address this loophole to ensure law enforcement has the tools necessary to prevent a tragedy like this one from happening in the first place. I thank my colleagues for their unanimous support of the bill and I would encourage the House to concur with the Senate’s amendments so that we may move this legislation to the Governor’s desk.”
House Bill 1135 passed the Senate on a vote of 24-0.