How would your life change if you permanently lost your driver’s license? How would you get to work? To the store or the doctor? To see your family? For many people, this is not a hypothetical question.
To make it worse, we now know that millions of Americans did not lose their licenses because they drove recklessly or while intoxicated. Instead, they ran afoul in traffic courts of surprisingly draconian rules that many states now have in place.
Take the case of a Durham, North Carolina resident, who said he was only going about three miles an hour above the speed limit when he was pulled over. For that relatively minor offense, he was fined a couple hundred dollars—money he did not have. “I just couldn’t afford it,” he said. “I have four kids.” For non-payment of the fine, he lost his driver’s license—an automatic penalty in North Carolina, as in most states. That, in turn, negatively impacted both his housing and his job. If he didn’t have the money to pay a ticket, then he certainly doesn’t now.