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Driver’s license suspension ‘grace’ bill approved in committee

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A bill that would limit the state from suspending the drivers licenses for non-moving traffic violations received a favorable report in committee on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 154, sponsored by Sen. Will Barfoot, R-Pike Road, would provide that in order for a license to be suspended post-adjudication, a traffic offender would have to miss two or more court review dates or six or more payments.

A similar bill sponsored by Barfoot was approved in the Senate last year, but died in the House.

Under existing law, if a court orders an individual to pay a fine as a result of a traffic infraction, and he or she fails to pay, his or her driver’s license may be suspended. Similarly, failure to appear in court for a review can automatically result in driving privilege suspension.

“That is what I call a grace period,” Barfoot said during the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting.

The bill does not affect pre-adjudication.

The bill also requires the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency to add points to an individual’s driver license upon conviction of a traffic offense.

Workers Drive Alabama, a campaign led by Alabama Appleseed for Law and Justice, focuses specifically on the issue of driver’s license suspension and how it impacts individuals across the state. According to the campaign, under current law in Alabama, 95% of the people whose driver’s licenses are suspended are not habitually reckless and dangerous drivers.

Nearly 170,000 Alabamians have lost their driver’s licenses because they missed court or can’t afford to pay their tickets, according to the organization.

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