July 17, 2008

Policymakers Should Promote Access to Driving by Reducing License Suspensions

Access to driver's licenses strengthens the economy

For Immediate Release: July 17, 2008
Contact: Margy Waller, (202) 552-1713, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Washington, DC: In a new report released this week, The Mobility Agenda finds that changes in the location of work and residence in the last century have dramatically altered the landscape of our nation, changing the transportation needs of communities and workers. As a result, most communities now depend on private vehicle access to ensure that workers can fill and retain jobs by effectively managing the distance and travel time between work and home, as well as to access goods and services not well served by public transit.

"Unfortunately, recent changes in policies regarding driver's license suspension increase the chances that employers, communities, and workers will experience the detrimental effect of license suspension for reasons that have nothing to do with road safety," said Margy Waller, Executive Director of The Mobility Agenda and co-author of this report.

In recent decades, policymakers have created new barriers to economic strength and employment by adopting legislation that makes license holding, and therefore access to legal driving, more tenuous—particularly for low-wage employees.

In "Access to Driving and License Suspension Policies for the Twenty-First Century Economy," the authors highlight promising initiatives and provide recommendations for policymakers to reduce the impact of economic license suspensions that are unrelated to driving competency and public safety.

The Mobility Agenda is a think tank in Washington, DC that seeks to stimulate and shape a dialogue to build public support for strengthening the labor market, benefiting our economy, workers, and communities.

"Decisionmakers and stakeholders should encourage use of the best transportation option for economic security and strong communities, which, in many cases, will mean supporting access to private vehicles driven by a worker with a valid license," explained Waller. The authors, Sandra Gustitus, Melody Simmons, and Margy Waller present a clear explanation of the policy options and make specific recommendations for decisionmakers.

For more information, including the full report and abstract, please see: www.mobilityagenda.org/worklife.