Pump the Brakes: Michigan Should Rethink Driver's License Suspensions

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It is wise to prevent someone from handling a vehicle when they have a history of reckless driving or drunk driving. But some states suspend driver’s licenses as a form of punishment for law violations that are entirely unrelated to operating an automobile, and Michigan does this more than most. In 2010, Michigan suspended over 475,000 licenses – one for every 15 drivers. Over 95 percent of those suspensions were for offenses unrelated to driving. Today, 86 percent of Americans use a car or motorcycle to get to work, meaning that a suspended license puts them at serious risk of job loss and other hardships.

A transcript of this event is available here.


James Craven, the acting director of criminal justice reform at Reason Foundation in Washington, D.C., will discuss his forthcoming study, titled “Driver's License Suspension Reform: The Right Road for Michigan.” In it, he lists all the nontraffic offenses that result in suspensions and offers policy solutions that have been road-tested in other states. Prior to joining Reason, Craven worked as a defense attorney in North Carolina. He graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 2013.


Evan Carter is a reporter at Michigan Capitol Confidential, which has covered the rise and fall of Michigan’s "bad driver tax." He’ll discuss how imposing “driver responsibility fees” up to $2,000 for people with certain serious or multiple traffic violations caused a wave of license suspensions when low-income drivers couldn’t afford to pay these fees. The tax has been repealed, but the damage lives on.


Kim Buddin-Crawford joined the ACLU of Michigan as a Legal Fellow in 2015, and now serves as Policy Counsel. She is responsible for conducting research and outreach to assist in developing and implementing litigation and advocacy strategies and to proactively advance the ACLU’s legislative agenda. She earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Michigan State University College of Law. Prior to joining the ACLU of Michigan, she served as a staff attorney for Lakeshore Legal Aid’s Counsel Advocacy Law Line and law clerk for the City of Dearborn, Michigan. Outside of the ACLU, Kimberly advocates as a pro-bono attorney for the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center.


Please join us for an important discussion about the rules of the road and who gets to drive on them.

Lunch is free for attendees who RSVP. Please register online here

WHEN: Wednesday, May 2, 2018
  11:30 a.m.: Check-in and lunch available
  Noon to 1:00 p.m.: Program with Q&A
WHERE: Radisson at the Capitol
  111 N Grand Ave
  Lansing, MI 48933

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact us at 989-698-1905 or events@mackinac.org.

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