Car Dependence Is a Poverty Trap That States Exploit to Raise Money

///Car Dependence Is a Poverty Trap That States Exploit to Raise Money

Car Dependence Is a Poverty Trap That States Exploit to Raise Money

Never doubt that the American system of transportation is oppressive.

In the average American city, access to a car is practically a prerequisite to securing employment. Knowing this, state and local governments in much of the country use the threat of driver’s license suspension to impose fines and sanctions that can entrap people in a vicious cycle of indebtedness. The burden falls most heavily, of course, on people who can least afford it, an issue explored most recently by Henry Grabar at Slate.

Grabar details how license suspension has become a catch-all penalty in much of the country, applied in many cases that have nothing to do with dangerous driving:

Over the past 15 years, dozens of U.S. states have moved to suspend more licenses for court debt, fines, and fees, and unrelated offenses. In 2006, nearly 40 percent of license suspensions in the U.S. originated with offenses like unpaid traffic tickets, drug possession, or unpaid child support — violations the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, or AAMVA, categorizes as “social non-conformance.” That was a 34 percent increase from 2002, according to research by Robert J. Eger. The surge has left millions of Americans the choice between driving illegally and reorganizing their lives around alternative transportation. The first option leads to debt and trouble with law enforcement, the second to poverty and unemployment. Three in four Americans with suspended licenses choose to keep driving, according to the AAMVA.

Read more: Car Dependence Is a Poverty Trap That States Exploit to Raise Money – Streetsblog USA