Walker signs law getting tough on unlicensed, revoked drivers

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

GREENDALE -- Thursday, Governor Scott Walker signed a new bill into law that gets tough on unlicensed and revoked drivers who continue to get behind the wheel. The bill was created by a father who lost his son to an unlicensed driver.

This Christmas will be the seventh Christmas Rob Dams will spend without his son, Nicholas. "People think it gets easier, but it doesn't. It gets harder," Dams said. This year, however, he Dams finally has something to celebrate, after Governor Walker signed Nick's Law Thursday.

Back in 2005, an unlicensed driver pulled out in front of his son's motorcycle, and 20-year-old Nicholas Dams was killed. The driver who caused the crash walked away with a pair of traffic tickets that he never bothered to pay. A FOX6 investigation two years after the crash that killed Nicholas found that same driver, still driving illegally. When asked if Nicholas Dams' death means anything to him, the driver said "Yes it does sir. It means a lot to me. That's why I'm trying to change my life right now."

More than 100,000 Wisconsin drivers are caught behind the wheel each year without a valid license, and studies show they are statistically the most dangerous drivers on the road. Rob Dams says people came to him, that went through the same hardship of losing a loved one and wanted to take action, so the former Greendale police chief used his political connections to push for change, and even testified in Madison year after year.

Thursday, his persistence finally paid off, when Governor Walker came to the Greendale Police Department to sign Nick's Law. This new law makes it a felony for a suspended, revoked or unlicensed driver to seriously injure or kill someone else in a crash. "From this point forward, our hope, and I'm sure it's the hopes of these families, that this will send a strong message for people not to drive without a license," Walker said.

Dams knows the new law won't bring his son, Nicholas back, but he knows Nick's name will have a lasting legacy. "He would have wanted this, so that he didn't die for nothing," Ron Dams said.

Dams faced plenty of resistance to his get tough legislation during his six-year fight to pass Nick's Law, but Governor Walker said this time around, the bill passed with heavy, bi-partisan support.