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Rep. Walsh introduces driving bill

February 9, 2011

PROVIDENCE -- Rep. Donna Walsh (Democrat, District 36) has introduced H-5122, which will close a loophole used by bad drivers with multiple offenses to evade harsher penalties.

Walsh’s bill is a simple measure that would prohibit any driver who has received a third summons in a 12-month-period from mailing in payment. Instead, that driver would have to appear in person before a judge in municipal court or traffic tribunal.

Walsh sees this bill as a next step following the enactment of “Colin’s Law,” the bill she co-authored in the last General Assembly session. The bill is named after Charlestown resident Colin Foote who was killed last year by Laura Reale, a multiple traffic offender.

“Repeat offenders like Laura Reale pay their tickets for moving violations by mail and well before they are due to avoid triggering court appearances and harsher penalties such as loss of their licenses,” said Walsh. “They escape appearances before a judge who can use their complete driving history to determine the appropriate sentence, such as the loss of license mandated under ‘Colin’s Law.’”

Walsh is consulting regularly with concerned citizens, traffic safety advocates and law enforcement officials to spot and remedy defects in the justice system that allows bad drivers to endanger the public. “I am determined to find and fix these problems to end the threat posed by repeat offenders to the community,” she said.

Walsh’s district includes all of Block Island and parts of Charlestown, South Kingstown and Westerly.

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