The right to drive should not be based on a person’s income. But each year, Kansas’s practice of suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid fines and fees strips thousands of Kansans of their ability to drive because they cannot afford to pay.
More than one in 10 Kansans over the age of 18 have a driver’s license suspension. Nearly two-thirds of these Kansans’ licenses are suspended for unpaid debt, one of the highest rates of driver’s license suspensions in the country. This problem is deepening. In 2018, Kansas suspended 37,350 licenses of which 26,396 (71%) were suspended because of unpaid tickets, court costs, and/or fines.
Driver’s license suspensions hurt us all: They prevent Kansans from maintaining employment, getting to the doctor’s office, taking their children to school, and going to the grocery store. Research shows Kansans of color and Kansans experiencing poverty are disproportionately impacted by debt-related suspensions and, on average, their suspensions last longer.
There are economic consequences for businesses as well. Many industries require the ability to legally drive, but the pool of qualified workers continues to shrink due to suspensions.
We can move forward by eliminating the license-for-payment scheme in Kansas. Sign on now if you’re ready to fight driver’s license suspensions for unpaid fines and fees.