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Policy of suspending driver's licenses over traffic tickets may end

Jun 17, 2019 3:15 pm
Steve Hughes is reporting for the Times Union the state of New York may revamp how it punishes drivers for failing to pay traffic tickets. Statewide the most common cause of driver’s license suspensions is failing to pay for a traffic ticket. In 2016, more than 65 percent of suspended licenses in New York were the result of drivers failing to pay a traffic ticket or failing to appear in court to answer a traffic ticket, according to a review by the Driven By Justice Coalition. Most of those suspensions fell on drivers who are minorities or poor, and the suspension can become an entryway into the criminal justice system, said Joanna Weiss, co-director of the Fines and Fees Justice Center. Weiss also pointed out that suspending driver’s licenses for failure to pay or failure to appear for a traffic ticket is also a drain on law enforcement. The bill currently under consideration would not end license suspensions for drivers who rack up too many points on their license or committed crimes such as vehicular homicide. Drivers would still be required to pay their debts and the state could take measures to punish those that continue to fail to pay, including entering civil judgments or freezing accounts. Read the full story in the Times Union.