Local Policy Guide: Reforming Debt-Based Driver’s License Suspensions at the Local Level

Many states impose other driving restrictions or requirements (such as registration holds and parking stickers) in order to coerce court debt payments. For the 86% of Americans who drive to work — losing the ability to drive can also mean losing the ability to work, to provide for their families, and access medical care.

While state legislation may be the ultimate authority on license suspensions for unpaid fines and fees, there are a number of actions that localities can take to reduce the harm of debt-based driving suspensions. In addition to supporting efforts and advocating for state legislation to end the practice altogether, cities and counties can make a meaningful impact by addressing the ways in which these laws are (or are not) enforced and by minimizing the consequences on a local level.

This guide is designed to give local leaders the tools, process and resources they need to reform debt-based driving restrictions at the local level via three key pathways: ending prosecution of debt-based license suspensions, ending police arrests and citations, and relieving old debt and restoring licenses. Localities seeking to make the most impact should consider a multi-pronged approach to ending debt-based restrictions on driving by adopting more than one of the policy reforms outlined in this guidance.

In this local policy guide you will find:

  • Step-by-step process for researching, developing and implementing three distinct pathways for reform.
  • Crucial data points that your team should collect and track throughout the process
  • Key questions to guide stakeholder and community engagement, and your implementation strategy

Ready to get started? Download your guide here.

Are you a local leader looking to drive fines and fees reform in your jurisdiction? Learn more about our Cities and Counties for Fine and Fee Justice initiative by contacting