Dear Senators Coons and Wicker,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for S. 998, the “Driving for Opportunity Act.”
Across the country, millions of people have their driver’s licenses suspended for reasons that are unrelated to highway or public safety – usually unpaid fines or fees. Yet, many Americans still make the decision to drive with a suspended license. The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators found that 75% of those with a suspended license continue to drive. Driving on a suspended license is one of the most common criminal charges across the country. Arresting a person for driving with a suspended license due to unpaid fees, which has nothing to do with the safety of our roads and communities, is a waste of valuable law enforcement time and resources. Your legislation would create a grant program for States to reinstate driver’s licenses that were suspended for unpaid fines and fees. This will incentivize States to reverse local laws that permit this practice. The bill will also require States to create a report for the U.S. Attorney General about programs to reinstate driver’s licenses, as well as requiring a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study to be conducted on the implementation of the grant program.
Your legislation will not only help those who are struggling due to having a suspended license, but it will also free law enforcement to focus its resources on protecting our communities.
On behalf of the more than 356,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I am proud to offer our support for this legislation. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington office.