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Woman Fights For Tougher Laws Against Unlicensed Drivers After Son Killed In Crash

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MORENO VALLEY (CBSLA.com) — A Southland woman whose son was killed by an unlicensed driver is fighting for tougher laws to make the roads safer.

Sabine Durden told CBS2/KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen that her son, Dominic’s, life was cut short six months ago while riding his motorcycle in Moreno Valley.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“When my son died, something in me died,” Durden said. “For an unlicensed driver to rip that out of my hands and out of my heart, it’s not right.”

Investigators say Juan Zacarias Lopez Tzun was driving the truck that hit Dominic. Tzun, an unlicensed driver, was charged with manslaughter and has entered a not guilty plea.

A new study from the Department of Motor Vehicles found that suspended or revoked drivers and unlicensed drivers are more dangerous on the road than licensed drivers. Those drivers are reportedly three times more likely to cause a fatal crash.

“What goes through your mind when you hear the phrase ‘unlicensed driver’?” Nguyen asked Durden.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“Take the car away, that’s the first thing in my head,” she said.

Last April, the Los Angeles Police Department implemented a new policy that allows unlicensed drivers stopped for a minor offense to reclaim their cars without a 30-day wait period.

“The study did recommend that impoundment seems to work,” DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez said.

The study used collision report data collected over a 23-year period and found the at-fault risk of unlicensed drivers did not decrease over time.

Durden said the driver charged with hitting her son had already been arrested twice for driving under the influence.

Now, she said, her new mission in life is to fight for tougher laws against driving unlicensed.

Durden said, “If this guy who killed my son wouldn’t have had his car or his truck, my son might still be alive.”

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