Norwegian politicians are busy folks but that’s no excuse when they get pulled over by police for speeding. Police in both Telemark and the mountains of Sogn og Fjordane have revoked the drivers’ licenses of two Members of Parliament lately, after they got caught driving way too fast.
Liv Signe Navarsete, former leader of the rural-friendly Center Party, hasn’t been able to use her car for the past six months. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported earlier this month that she’s been without her driver’s license since last fall, when she got caught driving 87 kilometers per hour in a 60-kph zone at Bremanger.
That resulted in a fine of NOK 8,000 (USD 952) and revocation of her license for six months. Navarsete, a former transport minister in the former left-center government, declined comment on why she was driving so fast.
It wasn’t the first time Navarsete landed in trouble with the law. In 2008, when she was still a government minister and had a chauffeur-driven car at her disposal, her driver was was clocked as speeding through a tunnel in her home community of Lærdal at 110 kilometers per hour in an 80-kph zone, right after she’d held a speech about how important it was to obey speed limits.
In 2014, Navarset was fined NOK 6000 after being involved in a traffic accident in Lærdal the year before. The police claimed Navarsete hadn’t been paying attention and didn’t brake quickly enough when the car in front of her stalled.
Now another Member of Parliament from Telemark has also lost her license after pressing too hard on the gas pedal. MP Lene Vågslid of the Labour Party was at least open about her traffic violation and wrote on her own Facebook page that she was “embarrassed and sorry” that she’d lost her driver’s license after being pulled over for driving 86 kph in a 60 zone between Kongsberg and Notodden. Police snatched her license at the scene and she can’t drive for the next three months.
“I drive a lot and today I wasn’t paying attention on a portion of road where I should have been,” Vågslid told NRK. She called it “a brutal encounter with reality, but at the same time, completely correct.”
Vågslid, a member of the Parliament’s justice committee, said she believes that “as politicians and elected officials, we should be open when we make mistakes.” She was praised for her own openness by, among others, opposition politican Bård Hoksrud of the Progress Party.
Vågslid said the loss of her driver’s license was causing a lot of practical problems for her, but that family members were already helping drive her around.