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Report calls for end of drivers' license suspensions as punishment for unpaid traffic tickets




An officer tickets a driver on N. Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood on Aug. 24, 2012.
An officer tickets a driver on N. Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood on Aug. 24, 2012.
Chris Yarzab/Flickr

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A new report released by a coalition of civil rights organizations finds that unpaid traffic tickets and additional penalties disproportionately affect low-income and ethnic minorities in the state.

The report, “Not Just a Ferguson Problem: How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California,” says that 1 in six California drivers have had their driver licenses suspended due to overdue fines. It argues that the punitive move sinks those who are the most vulnerable in the state further into economic hardship, and calls for the state to end driver license suspensions and lower fees and penalties added on to an overdue ticket that could turn a $100 ticket into a $1,000 fine.

What do you think? Should driver license suspensions be disallowed? If so, what are the implications for public safety?

Guest: 

Meredith Desautels, an attorney with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, the lead author of the report, “Not Just a Ferguson Problem: How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California