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Driver's Licenses in Alabama

Did you know?

  • Nearly 170,000 drivers licenses in Alabama are suspended because someone missed a payment. In contrast, less than 9,000 licenses are suspended for dangerous driving.

  • Under current law in Alabama, 95 percent of the people whose driver’s licenses are suspended are NOT habitually reckless and dangerous drivers.

  • However, when someone is unable to pay a traffic ticket, they often get their license suspended for failure to pay. The same is true if they miss a court date related to a traffic ticket.

  • ​Having your license suspended makes it hard to keep or obtain employment. This makes it hard to earn the money needed to pay your ticket.

This system is bad for individuals who lose their licenses and for Alabama as a whole.

Consequences for Drivers

P​eople whose licenses are suspended for debt-related reasons such as unpaid tickets make desperate choices in order to clear their debt. A 2018 survey of Alabamians whose licenses were suspended due to unpaid tickets found that:

  • 89% had to forgo basic needs like food, utilities, or medicine 

  • 73% were forced to request charity that they wouldn’t otherwise have needed;

  • 48% took out a high-interest payday loan to pay off their tickets;

  • 30% admitted to committing crimes like selling drugs or stealing to pay off their debt.

Consequences for Alabama

  • In 2023, 31% of under- and unemployed Alabamians cited lack of transportation as the main reason they weren’t working up to their potential.

  •  At the same time, Alabama is facing a labor shortage. Low unemployment coupled with low workforce participation means businesses are struggling to fill vacancies.

  • And people who don’t work don’t pay much in taxes. A study out of UAB showed that each debt-based drivers license suspension costs $804 in tax revenue.

Where states stand on debt-related driving suspensions

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Data courtesy of Free to Drive

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