Report: New Yorkers Of Color More Likely To Have Driver’s License Suspended

Lynda Lopez
February 20, 2020 - 7:17 pm
NYPD Traffic Stop

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New Yorkers of color are more likely to have their driver’s licenses suspended because they cannot afford to pay fines associated with traffic violations, according to a new report.

The Racial Justice Project at New York Law School found people of color were also stopped and ticketed more often than white New Yorkers.

The disproportionate ticketing left many with mounting traffic debt and high license suspension rates.

In the city, the suspension rate in the 10 zip codes with the highest concentrations of people of color was 2.5 times higher than in the zip codes with the most concentrated white populations.

In the rest of the state, it was four times higher.

Katie Adamidies, who worked on the report, tells WCBS 880’s Lynda Lopez that the license suspensions usually does more harm than good.

“When we take about their ability to legally drive, we take away their ability to work and earn the money to pay their fines. It gets people trapped in a cycle of poverty that they just can’t escape,” she said.

She’s hoping the Legislature will soon pass the Driver’s License Suspension Reform Act, which would end traffic debt suspensions and create affordable payment plans for people to pay their fines without losing their ability to drive.

The measure would also reinstate driver’s licenses that had been suspended because a person was unable to pay a fine.