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Tue 13

September 13, 2022 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm EDT

Ending Drivers of Poverty and Incarceration

R Street

Location: In Person

223 Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast
Washington, DC, 20003

Millions of individuals across the United States have had their driving privileges suspended, often indefinitely, for unpaid traffic, toll, misdemeanor and felony fines and fees. Still, more than half of U.S. states suspend, revoke or refuse to renew drivers’ licenses as a form of nonpayment penalty.

While the practice was designed to incentivize people to pay their debts and have their licenses restored, the lack of transportation only exacerbates an individual’s inability to maintain stable employment and fulfill financial obligations. Individuals that continue to drive on a suspended license to maintain employment are easy targets for law enforcement, resulting in additional citations and lengthier suspensions. Minor debts become major financial obligations, which ensnares well-meaning people in a cycle of poverty, joblessness or legal violations due to a suspended license. The escalating government debt becomes increasingly impossible to collect, resulting in tens of billions of dollars owed and the enforcement of license suspensions distracts from law enforcement, court and correctional priorities.

Debt-based license suspensions are simply another tool in the judicial system’s arsenal of policies that disproportionately punish poor people and people of color. The inefficiency of the policy’s ability to recoup court costs and the negative impact on public safety has prompted lawmakers, advocacy organizations, law enforcement groups and researchers on both sides of the aisle to push for an end to debt-based driver’s license suspensions with H.R.2453/S.998 – Driving for Opportunity Act of 2021.

We invite you to join us in a discussion about the ways in which law violators can be held accountable without the counterproductive practice of debt-based license suspension. We will also examine the need for and solutions to more robust, reliable and affordable public transportation alternatives.


● [Moderator] Anthony Lamorena, Federal Government Affairs Manager, R Street Institute

● Jillian Snider, Policy Director, R Street Institute

● Christi Smith, Senior Fellow, R Street Institute