Minnesota Lawmaker Wants Changes to 'Safe Driving Programs'

Updated: 01/20/2014 9:18 PM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls

A Minnesota lawmaker says it is clearly "against the law" to run a safe driving program, and he wants to make sure sheriffs and police chiefs get the message.

State Representative Steve Drazkowski, (R) Mazeppa, says he will introduce legislation in the House Judiciary Committee to tighten a state law that does not allow safe driving programs offered by more than a dozen county sheriff's offices and more than a dozen chiefs of police in cities across Minnesota.  A Judge recently ruled the programs are illegal.

We looked at the safe driving program offered by the Wabasha County Sheriff's Office. Here is how it works: a driver gets pulled over for a moving violation and the Sheriff's Deputy could offer a $125 option for a safe driving program.

If the driver finishes the classes, the ticket is dismissed and all the money goes to the county, and the state doesn't get a penny like it is supposed to for moving violations.

Rep. Drazkowski says there is a "culture of wink, wink" among sheriffs and police chiefs across state saying, "Hey, it has worked for us, maybe you might want to try it." Rep. Drazkowski says that culture has to end and "we need to tighten the law to make sure it does."