Mon April 23, 2012
Northern Wisconsin program aims to get penalized drivers back on the road
People who have lost their drivers licenses now have a program to help them get back on the road.
It's a program that crosses state lines between Duluth and Superior.
St. Louis County in Minnesota and Douglas County in Wisconsin are using a new program to aid people who have had their licenses suspended or revoked. Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse has high hopes for the program, which they have brought across the bridge, "Through this program we hope that people can arrange payments so that they can make payments and get their license back immediately so they can stop driving suspended and we can stop the cycle of writing tickets to the same people."
St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin calls it a "common-sense" way to help, "One of the problems that we face today is that many people have their license suspended from driving after revocation or driving after suspension. They cannot afford to get their license back, and in the meantime they go out and they continue to drive without a license, without insurance, and get back into court. It's a never-ending cycle."
For a $350 fee, people can sign up for the program. Once they are accepted they take a course to create a payment plan for their fines and to work on getting their license back.
With roughly ten percent the driving population in each state operating vehicles without a license and millions of dollars owed in fines, Duluth assistant city attorney Cary Schmies says it's important to help people with this process, "The real nice part about this program is once they're in the program, they're issued a license. So they can drive now. They can go to work, they can take their kids to school."
Diversion Solutions President Scott Adkisson says the pilot program has been helped about 3,000 people get their licenses back.
The program does not assist those who have gross misdemeanors, felonies or warrants.