Between 2010 and 2013, 2,314 people died on New Jersey roads in 2,177 accidents. In 231 of these accidents, at least one of the drivers involved had no license. Traffic authorities are faced with a problem to which there seems to be no solution, as there is very little that can be done to keep unlicensed drivers off the roads. In more than 50 percent of the cases, the illegal drivers had records that included reckless driving. For these unlicensed drivers, wrongful death charges can result even if they are not found to be at fault.
In one case, a New Jersey man killed a 22 year-old driver when his pickup truck crashed into her car. At that point in time, the man had in excess of 70 suspensions accumulated over a period of 12 years and had been charged four times with unlicensed driving. The worst part is that he would have been able to have his license restored once all fines and fees had been paid. In fact, his license had been restored 12 times prior to the most recent accident.
New Jersey law only allows for a driver’s license to be permanently revoked by a judge. Unfortunately, only serious accident cases ever make it to the Superior Court. Currently, lawmakers are looking at ways to try to make it as difficult as possible for drivers without licenses or whose licenses have been suspended to get behind the wheel.
Fortunately for accident victims and families suffering after the wrongful death of loved ones, legal actions can be taken. In cases involving unlicensed drivers, those drivers can be imprisoned even if they are not deemed to be at fault simply because they were breaking the law by driving without a valid license. As lawsuits can become complicated when special circumstances apply, those who wish to pursue wrongful death compensation in claims against unlicensed drivers may benefit from the help of experienced legal professionals.
Source: nj.com, “How a startling number of fatal N.J. crashes involve unlicensed drivers, and why it’s hard to stop them“, Craig McCarthy, May 10, 2015
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