- A Democratic member of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives has been involved in multiple accidents in her state-funded vehicle in recent years.
- Damages and repairs have cost Pennsylvania taxpayers at least $30,000 so far. Lawmakers have subsequently introduced legislation to limit this practice of state-funded vehicles.
Margo Davidson, a member of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives, has gotten in multiple accidents in her state-funded vehicle over the past three years, including her car being stolen after she left the keys in the ignition as well as a hit and run while driving with a suspended license.
State records obtained by the Philadelphia Inquirer via a Right-to-Know request show that the damages and insurance claims are over $30,000, and climbing.
Pennsylvania taxpayers are responsible for these charges because they are state-issued vehicles.
Davidson, a Democratic lawmaker from Delaware County who was first elected to the state house in 2010, has been charged with speeding tickets and driving with suspended licenses and has been involved in at least three accidents in two state vehicles in just the past three years, the report states.
Davidson’s series of reckless accidents began in 2014 when she was fined $221 for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle in her state-funded car.
In 2015, she rear-ended someone in her state-funded Dodge Journey. The other victim in the accident filed a civil complaint, costing the state $12,000.
The victim was given a confidentiality agreement, and records show she was later given an additional $1,251.
In the same year, state records show a payment of $1,575 to another state employee after Davidson apparently opened her door and hit the car parked next to hers.
In 2016, Davidson was given a $216 speeding ticket in Virginia while driving her personal vehicle. Davidson failed to pay the fine, and her license was suspended.
The lawmaker kept driving, however, and on Jan. 11, she rear-ended another person, this time in her state-funded 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee, a car costing anywhere from $44,498 to $48,418.
Davidson was found guilty in May of failing to notify police of this accident and for driving without a license.
The driving without a license charge was eventually changed to driving with a suspended license.
Davidson allowed the victim in the incident to take a picture of her holding her license before she said she had to leave, and left the scene.
“Providing a license is not enough,” the trooper on the scene said, pointing out the lack of a telephone number and insurance information. “She made somewhat of an attempt … but it wasn’t enough.”
At the time of the event, Davidson told the Daily Times that she did not know her license was suspended until after yet another crash weeks later in February.
Davidson was pulling her state-issued Jeep out of a driveway on Feb. 2 when she collided with another car, sending her and the other driver to the hospital.
Taxpayers received a $10,374 bill for damages that time, according to Department of General Services records obtained by the Inquirer.
In July, Davidson was found guilty of entering traffic unsafely or without giving an appropriate signal, in which she paid $50 in fines.
Davidson left her state-funded Dodge Journey in October 2017 unlocked in her driveway in Upper Darby with the keys in the ignition, where it was stolen and later involved in a crash causing serious damages and injuries, costing the state $7,207 in repairs.
Rep. Brad Roae, a Republican from Crawford County, introduced a bill in May to limit issuing of state-funded vehicles to state officials.
“I don’t even want to say it’s loosely controlled, because it’s not controlled at all,” Roae told the Inquirer.
Roae also said the Department of General Services doesn’t review the driving history of state officials before giving them a vehicle.
“They just take your word for it,” he said.
On top of Davidson receiving a state-funded vehicle, an average state representative in Pennsylvania earns a $85,338.65 a year salary, according to a study done by Business Insider.
This is the second highest salary out 50 states, only behind California, where state representatives make $97,197 on average.
Only 27 members of Pennsylvania’s 203-member House are part of the state-funded vehicle program, and according to the Inquirer, all of them are Democrats.
Davidson’s Harrisburg and Upper Darby offices did not respond to requests for comment.
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