More than 7 million people may have lost driver’s licenses because of traffic debt

The total number nationwide could be much higher based on the population of states that did not or could not provide data.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Justin Wm. Moyer
Washington Post
May 19, 2018

Tags: Court Debt, Driver's license suspension, Traffic Tickets

Organizations mentioned/involved: Tzedek DC, Legal Aid Justice Center (Virginia)


The Washington Post sought records from 49 states and the District (Louisiana wouldn’t release the information without a records request that cost hundreds of dollars). Jurisdictions track driver’s license suspensions differently, and some states could not or would not provide the information.

A spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles said 647,517 drivers had their licenses suspended as of late 2016 for failure to pay fines and costs. Maryland suspended 48,508 licenses, and the District suspended 3,300 in fiscal 2016 — although the District doesn’t differentiate between licenses suspended for failure to pay fines and failure to appear in court, according to its Department of Motor Vehicles.