WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 06, 2014, 09:20 PM

One in eight driving without a valid license

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -Every time you get on the road, you take the risk of being around reckless drivers.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -Every time you get on the road, you take the risk of being around reckless drivers.

But you might be surprised just how many of the people you're sharing the road with shouldn't be behind the wheel in the first place.

According to data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, a shocking number of drivers get behind the wheel without the proper driving privileges.

Think about this the next time you're driving in Minnesota, out of every eight cars that you pass, one could be driving without a valid license.

Lyle Weir, Moorhead resident: "It could be kind of dangerous. Obviously, there's a reason why people are given licenses. There are tests, and rules, and standing that people need to pass and qualify to be able to drive."

Data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety reveals that one in eight drivers are driving with a revoked or suspended license, learner's permit, or no license at all.

The information was brought to light by an investigation from Minnesota Public Radio and a Twin Cities TV station.

Dustin Heine, Moorhead resident: "That's a rather high number. I would have thought it would be one in 50 or something to that effect. But one in eight? I mean, how many people can we see right here?"

Since 2008, there have been more than 300,000 convictions for driving without a valid license. About half of those were in the Twin Cities' area.

Here in Clay County, the Sheriff's office says they often run into these during DWI arrests or car accidents.

And it brings up more than just safety issues on the road, there are also financial risks.

Weir: "If they don't have a license that tells me they probably don't have insurance which is unsafe for the rest of us that do have to pay for it."

Some think the reason it is so common is that people need some way to get around, even if that means breaking the law.

Weir: "My guess is they've got to get around we have things to do and unfortunately we do live somewhere where it's really cold and you're not going to walk too far."

One recent example of how dangerous it can be, back in November, two children died after the car they were in careened off a ramp into a pond in the Twin Cities.

The driver had only a learner's permit.