I already knew New Jersey suspends driver’s licenses for reasons having nothing to do with driving or traffic safety, I just didn’t know how bad it was until now. A study on this was done by Brown University and the findings are eye-opening.

According to CNN the study shows in 2018 that 91% of all license suspensions had nothing to do with traffic safety. Instead people have their licenses taken away for inability to pay fines or fees, even things having nothing to do with driving to begin with. Falling behind on your child support payments will get your license suspended. Violations of certain criminal codes will cause you to lose your license when the crimes have absolutely nothing to do with driving. Failure to pay a parking ticket can mean losing your license. Suspension can happen for failure to pay ANY court-ordered fine even when having absolutely nothing to do with driving. The list goes on.

Goes on to the point, again because it’s worth repeating, 91% of all driver’s license suspensions in 2018 were not for traffic safety. And that was not an aberrant year. It’s just how things are in money-hungry Jersey.

I remember my brother once was threatened with license suspension over failure to surrender plates from a car he had gotten rid of two years prior. The thing is, he DID surrender them, and he was furious. He tore through every drawer and every box in his closets for hours until miraculously he found the receipt from MVC (DMV at the time) showing they were wrong and that he had indeed turned them in. Had he not found it he would have joined that long gray line of ridiculous suspensions.

New Jersey does this because A) it’s easy; it’s one thing they control that everyone needs and B) the government is all about the money. This all reminds me of the line from Jurassic Park ... they were so busy thinking about how they could they never stopped to consider whether they should.

They shouldn’t. The study also shows these non-traffic safety suspensions hit low income communities particularly hard and therefore people of color particularly hard. When you suspend a disproportionate number of licenses in low income neighborhoods you’re also adding to an unemployment problem that already exists. It’s wrong for all of us and needs to be reigned in.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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