The City of Chicago suspends the most driver’s licenses over ticket debt, but they don’t have to. They chose to. Tell them to knock it off.
The Problem: Nearly 50,000 Illinois licenses are suspended each year because drivers can’t pay tickets, fines, or fees and for other non-moving violations – reasons that have nothing to do with driving.
We do not believe that driver’s license suspension should be used to penalize people for their poverty. Transportation is critical for employment and opportunity, and when licenses are taken away from good drivers and workers, we all lose—job seekers, workers, employers, and the taxpayers paying to enforce counterproductive policies.
Stripping people of their licenses causes job loss. A New Jersey study found that 42% of individuals lost their jobs following the suspension of their licenses.
Unnecessary suspensions of safe drivers are a burden on the criminal justice system. 75% percent of suspended drivers continue to drive. Arresting and incarcerating good drivers strains already lean public safety budgets. On average, it takes about 9 hours to arrest and prosecute someone caught driving without a license.
The impact is disproportionate. Black and Latino drivers are more likely than white drivers to be stopped by the police, to be fined or arrested for traffic offenses, and to suffer undue fines or incarceration.
Suspending licenses for non-driving violations suspends lives, creates cycles of debt and can lead to unemployment.
The Solution: The License to Work Act
One way we are working to create change is by building support to pass the License to Work Act, which eliminates driver’s license suspension as a penalty for most non-moving violations.
The License to Work Act would keep Illinoisans on the road so that they can continue to work and support their families.