George Gibbs Center for Economic Prosperity

JMI Releases Dr⁠i⁠ver’s L⁠i⁠cense Suspens⁠i⁠on Reform Paper

By: Logan Padgett / 2018


November 15, 2018


Logan Elizabeth Padgett


JMI Releases Driver’s License Suspension Reform Paper

TALLAHASSEE- Today, The James Madison Institute and Reason Foundation released a joint study that analyzes the economic effects of punitive license suspension in Florida. The study finds that a majority of suspensions in Florida are for offenses unrelated to traffic safety, and recommends reforms for these corrective actions.

Florida suspended 1.7 million licenses in the last year alone, impacting nearly 10 percent of the state’s driving population. With the necessity of a driver’s license for employment application and work, these suspension practices are limiting job opportunities for citizens who commit one of 16 offenses like illegal firearm possession, drug possession, and giving alcohol to a minor. These civil and criminal offenses are punishable by driver’s license suspension, despite one having no additional offenses of unsafe driving.


The cost to Florida cannot be entirely quantified, but these practices are hurting the state and its taxpayers in court costs and unemployment.

The study approached reform with several options relating to specific offenses, and programs for automatic license reinstatement were also considered.

According to the study, written by Sal Nuzzo, JMI’s vice president of policy, and James Craven, a senior fellow of criminal justice reform at Reason Foundation, “Suspending licenses has hurt Florida. There’s no reason to continue down a road that leads to a poorer future for its most needy, a more dangerous future for its citizens, and a more costly future for its taxpayers. It’s time to change course.”

With states like Massachusetts, California, Virginia, and Mississippi increasingly repealing practices of license suspensions for non-driving-related offenses, Florida should emulate those states’ reforms, which carry with them many positive economic benefits.


To read “Changing Course: Driver’s License Suspension In Florida,” click here.

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As Florida’s premier free-market think tank, The James Madison Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational organization. The Institute conducts research on economic issues facing Floridians.