Earlier today, the Florida House of Representatives’ Civil Justice Subcommittee voted in support of HB 903, which would reform the state’s driver’s license suspension policies.
Two million Floridians—1 in 8 drivers—have a suspended license. This legislation is part of the Fines and Fees Justice Center’s (FFJC) Driving Success campaign to end the destructive practice of suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid court debt in Florida.
“The vast majority of Florida’s license suspensions are simply for unpaid fines and fees,” said Ashley Thomas, FFJC’s Florida State Director. “This counterproductive practice wastes public safety resources, while causing immense harm to Florida’s families and businesses.”
Last month, the Tampa City Council and Hillsborough County Commission each approved resolutions in support of HB 903 and its Senate companion bill, SB 1328. The legislation has also been endorsed by the editorial boards of the Orlando Sentinel and Tampa Bay Times, while garnering positive coverage in the Miami Herald, Tallahassee Democrat, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and numerous other outlets throughout Florida.
FFJC recently released interactive Story Maps and a major report, Driving on Empty: Florida’s Counterproductive and Costly Driver’s License Suspension Practices, documenting how this counterproductive policy harms our state’s families and businesses.
“This bill is a commonsense approach that will reduce the number of people whose licenses are suspended because they can’t afford fines and fees—which is good news for all of Florida,” added Thomas, who testified at today’s hearing. “Driving is a necessity in Florida—86% of working Floridians drive to get to work. If you can’t drive, the universe of available jobs available shrinks, and so do your opportunities.”