On the 20th of October, a school bus driver in Massachusetts was arrested for his third drunk driving conviction. The driver was driving a vehicle filled with students from Hopkinton High School when one of the coaches on the bus called the police and informed them about the condition of the driver.
A driver who put children at risk
The caller also mentioned that the bus was swerving dangerously and it was not safe for any of the kids or adults. When police officers caught up with the bus and flagged it down, they realized that the driver – Robert E. Murphy was dead drunk. He failed a series of sobriety tests at a parking lot after the bus was stopped.
What is even more interesting to note, and of course troublesome as well, is that Murphy has had two previous DUI convictions before this incident. However, his license has not been revoked and he was still able to get a job as a driver for high school buses.
According to the anti-drunk driving organization MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), the state of Massachusetts ranks 40th in the list of 50 states as per the drunk driving statistics. Massachusetts is also the state that gave welfare and social aid to the Boston Bombers’s family for years. Massachusetts is a liberal state and they seem to go pretty soft on criminals. Murphy should not have been able to drive children around.
In such a situation, it is imperative for the law against drunk drivers to be enforced strongly in Massachusetts so that it deters others from repeat offenses. But what we get instead is instances like this where repeat offenders are allowed to ferry children around and drive vehicles on the roads as if their prior convictions never happened.
State laws too lenient on drunk drivers and others as well
Ever since the Hopkinton High incident, the question on everyone’s mind is the same – what does it take for a driver to lose his or her driver’s license forever in the state of Massachusetts? And it turns out, that Massachusetts is actually pretty forgiving when it comes to OWIs. Drunk driving accident attorneys in the state say that even if a driver had accumulated DUIs, it would be extremely hard to lose their driver’s license. In fact even if you actually killed someone while driving drunk, the law in the Bay State would not deem it fit to take away your driving license.
Massachusetts’ lenient DUI laws are why Robert E. Murphy, of Ashland, could still be on the road driving a school bus despite his previous two OUIs. Murphy was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and operating a motor vehicle endangering the public. Murphy’s last drunk driving conviction was 25 years ago. Drunk driving attorneys say that the way the law works in Mass., it is not enough for a driver to have a DUI violation against his name for a permanent license revocation.
It is good that this did not happen when Robert E. Murphy was at the helm.
The rule of four
In case the driver does not refuse to have drug and alcohol test, the first and second OUI convictions in the state are considered to be misdemeanors. The license is suspended only for a year or two, in either of the cases. But a hardship license can be applied for, and drivers can be back on the road in less than three months, says Massachusetts based drunk driving accident attorney Joseph Higgins.
The hardship license can be applied for if drivers can prove they have no other way of getting to work, school, or any other necessary medical treatment without driving. A second offense however requires an ignition interlock device to be fitted in the driver’s car.
According to Chapter 90, Section 24 of Massachusetts State Law, a third time DUI offense is a felony and license is suspended up to eight years and the felony carries with it a sentence of 180 days in jail which is a mandatory sentence. It takes a fourth conviction for serious action to be taken, and that too if the driver is under 21. For older drivers like Murphy, it takes five convictions for a license revocation. But even for that, several factors come into play before a hard decision can be taken.