Why the Senate Should Pass the Driving for Opportunity Act
Date:  07-27-2020

Suspending drivers license for unpaid fines and fees creates an unnecessary cycle of punishment and poverty
From Prison Policy Initiative:

When someone’s driver’s license is revoked, you might assume that it’s because they committed a serious driving-related offense, like reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, or driving while impaired. While that is often the case, a full 40% of license suspensions are for reasons totally unrelated to driving. Most states suspend driver’s licenses for unpaid court fines and fees or for failure to pay child support. (Some states even suspend licenses for littering, burning trash, skipping school, unpaid student loans, and – as we have written about before – drug offenses unrelated to driving).

11 million people have had their licenses suspended because they could not afford to pay court fines and fees. The Driving for Opportunity Act would encourage states to stop suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid fines and fees. License suspensions create a cycle of punishment:

1. A person loses their license because they can’t afford court fines or fees.

2. The loss of a license makes it harder to get to work to earn the money needed to pay off their debt. Of course, it also makes it harder to take children to school, shop for groceries, get to medical appointments, make court dates, etc.

3. To meet these basic needs, 83% of people with suspended licenses continue to drive. Driving with a suspended license puts them at risk for even greater fines, or even incarceration, which is incredibly expensive for the individual as well as the taxpayer. Continue reading >>>