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Highway safety director with history of traffic violations loses job

You might not be shocked to learn that directors of states' Highway Safety Divisions have a traffic violation or two on their records. But how about 34 entries? As surprising as that may seem, that's exactly what the Boston Globe recently discovered on the record of the director of the Massachusetts Highway Safety Division.

After the newspaper revealed the record, the director, Sheila Burgess, lost her job. However, she wasn't fired outright but rather assigned to a "different role" in the division.

"Given her driving record, it is clear that Ms. Burgess should not have been hired as the director of Highway Safety in 2007," said Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, the state's Secretary of Public Safety and Security.

Governor Deval Patrick told reporters that he was angry over the situation and promised to "get to the bottom of it" by finding out how exactly Burgess had been hired for the director's job.

Ironically, at the time the newspaper revealed that Burgess had a history of seven accidents, and had been cited four times for speeding and once for failure to wear a seat belt, she was out on medical leave after she had injured her head in a car accident in August.

In the accident, which took place on a sunny afternoon, she swerved off the road into a rock outcropping. She told police that she had been trying to avoid an oncoming vehicle, and she wasn't cited.

The newspaper discovered that in addition to the 34 entries on Burgess' driving record since 1982, her driver's license was recently classified as "non-renewable" until November 1 because she hadn't paid local excise taxes.

Stay tuned for updates our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...

If you have been issued a traffic violation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


Fox News, "Massachusetts highway safety head loses job after report of driving violations," Nov. 19, 2012

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