A new report from The Washington Post has found that more than seven million people across the country have lost their driver’s licenses due to unpaid tickets or other traffic debt. This debt includes unpaid administrative fees and unpaid court fees. Of the seven million, 10 percent are from the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. areas.

The total could also be higher than seven million if states could not report data or decided not to report their data. There are 41 states in the United States, and the District of Columbia, that suspend the driver’s license of someone who does does not make a court appearance to respond to a traffic ticket or who does not pay a traffic ticket fine.

Advocates speaking out against this practice claim that it unfairly targets the poor, who otherwise don’t have serious traffic violations on their records. If they lose their license they are unable to pick their children up or drop them off at school, they cannot get to and from work and they cannot get to medical appointments.

In Maryland, there were 48,508 driver’s licenses suspended in 2016 for failure to pay traffic fines. The number is shocking but it is much lower than the number from Virginia, which suspended some 647,517 driver’s licenses in the fiscal year 2016.

Being hit with a traffic ticket is never fun. If it was a moving violation it will place points on your license, which can lead to an increase in your auto insurance premium. Be sure you know how to fight traffic tickets in Catonsville, Maryland, so you don’t lose your driver’s license.

Source: The Washington Post, “More than 7 million people may have lost driver’s licenses because of traffic debt,” May 19, 2018