Maryland driver's license renewal extension debated

Nathan Krasnopoler. (Photo: WJLA)

Susan Cohen says her son Nathan Krasnopoler might still be alive today if Maryland had stronger driving laws.

The 20-year-old Johns Hopkins student was struck and killed last year riding his bike in Baltimore. Police said the 83-year-old driver didn't see him, then sat nearby, while Krasnopoler lay crushed under her car. She was fined $220 and agreed to give up her license.

“We were very close. He was my little brother,” says Elliott Krasnopoler, the victim’s brother. “It's hard, you know?”

Nathan's family testified Wednesday in a state senate committee hearing against a bill that would extend Maryland driver's license renewals from five to every eight years.

It's a bill the motor vehicle administration says would save millions.

“Last several fiscal years, we've been cutting back approximately 250 positions,” says MVA administrator John Kuo. “Have to find new ways of delivering services.”

And many drivers favor the switch.

But the Krasnopolers fear it would make drivers even less accountable. Moreover, they want an amendment requiring all drivers renewing their licenses to take mandatory computer tests for reaction times, recall and other driving skills.

Their efforts are fueled by losing their son and brother far too soon.

“I think about it constantly,” says Cohen. “No more tragedies of this kind.”