Collateral Consequences: How Driver’s License Suspensions Create Barriers to Work
This research explores how nonwork policies affect work opportunities. The inability for individuals with low incomes to access transportation is a significant barrier to employment. Existing research has focused on the lack of car ownership or transportation deserts. But for millions of U.S. workers, the suspension of their driver’s licenses is a significant concern, with a large portion of those suspensions due to Failure to Comply and Failure to Appear violations. As of 2021, more than 1 million people in North Carolina (the state the author is researching) have active license suspensions as a result of these policies. For many, these policies often create a vicious cycle of debt and collateral consequences that linger for years. The author will conduct semi-structured interviews with people in North Carolina whose driver’s license has been suspended due to Failure to Comply and Failure to Appear violations to better understand the mechanisms through which driver’s license suspension structures affect individuals’ employment opportunities.