It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider that one in seven Minnesotans has a DUI on their record, but new traffic data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety reveals that one in eight Minnesota drivers does not have a valid driver’s license.
Citations and traffic violations involving individuals without a valid license are becoming more common across the state and in the Twin Cities metro area. You probably remember hearing about Marion Guerrido, the woman in St. Louis Park who crashed her car into a pond last November, killing two of the five children in her car. Guerrido did not have a valid driver’s license, and although authorities are still investigating the cause of the accident, she yet to be charged with a crime.
Police are obviously concerned with determining what caused Guerrido to plunge her vehicle into the lake, but it’s clear she never should have been driving in the first place. But if you think Guerrido is one of just a handful of individuals who get behind the wheel without a valid driver’s license, you’re mistaken. State police records show that since 2008, nearly 310,000 people have been convicted for violations related to driving without a license. These violations include:
- Driving while suspended
- Driving with a revoked, cancelled or disqualified license
- Driving without a license
- Learner’s permit violations
The number or citations for driving without a valid license are staggering. A closer look at the numbers reveal that roughly 50,000 Minnesotans are cited every year for invalid license violations – which equates to one citation every 10 minutes.
With that many invalid drivers on the road, Minnesota State Trooper Jarod Moris said people need to be cognizant of everything that’s going on around them while they are driving.
“It means that there’s a small percentage of people out there who are disregarding the safety of everyone else who’s doing the right thing and for the people who are doing the right thing, I would recommend paying attention to whatever everyone else is doing as much as you’re paying attention to what you’re doing,” said Moris.
Driving without a valid license is a costly ticket that also makes it harder to obtain a driver’s license. If you’re caught driving with a suspended or revoked license, you may have to wait an additional six months to a year before you can apply to have it reinstated. As you might have guessed, there are fees associated with applying to have your license reinstated, not to mention the money you’ll forfeit for the initial citation.
Below, you can see the expected fine amount for a first offense of common invalid license offenses:
Driving with no valid license – $178
Driving while suspended, revoked, or cancelled – $278
Learner’s permit violation – $178
These fines only increase with multiple offenses, so don’t compound the problem by continuing to drive with an invalid license.
Related source: KARE 11