Passed in the Senate: Limits on Liability Imputed to an Adult Sponsor of a Minor Driver

Sen. Kapenga (R-Delafield) and Rep. Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) have championed legislation to limit the liability that may be imputed to an innocent parent or other adult who sponsors a person under the age of 18 in obtaining a motor vehicle operator’s license. Under current Wisconsin law, Wisconsin is one of only eight states in which a parent or other adult who sponsors a minor driver has unlimited liability for injuries caused by the minor’s negligent acts while driving. Twenty-seven states impute no liability to an adult sponsor.

Both the Assembly bill, Assembly Bill 540, and the Senate companion bill, Senate Bill 408, were this week recommended for passage by committee. The next step is to get the legislation scheduled for a vote in the Assembly.

The Senate passed SB 408 this week by a voice vote.

When in the Assembly Committee on Judiciary, the bill was recommended for passage by a vote of 6-3. All Republicans voted “aye” and all Democrats voted “no.” The Assembly committee considered and on a party-line vote rejected an amendment authored by Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) which would have limited the liability limit we seek to create only to a parent or adult sponsor who has purchased an insurance policy with a limit of not less than $300,000 because of bodily injury or death of one person in any one accident.

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