Schweitzer Vetoes Increased Penalty for Teen Drivers

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Gov. Brian Schweitzer is vetoing a bill that would allow teenage drivers to be charged as adults when vehicular homicide is alleged.

Schweitzer says he doesn’t like the idea of charging those under 18 as adults for a crime that may result from negligence rather than intent.

He says young people charged with such crimes obviously have made bad decisions, but may not be bad kids. The governor says offering such teens rehabilitation, rather than prison time with adults, is preferred.

Supporters of the bill argued that teen drivers accept adult responsibility when driving, and that stiffer penalties are needed.

House Bill 533 cruised the Legislature, receiving House and Senate support from both political parties.