WXYZ Editorial: Michigan must make suspended driver licenses a top priority

Posted at 7:59 PM, Jul 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-14 10:01:17-04

It is estimated that about 100-thousand people in Michigan each year get their driver’s licenses suspended for various reasons.  This epidemic is causing big problems on our roads. 

For months now, Action News has been reporting on this issue.  Recently, our Simon Shaykhet reported on two men who have had their driver’s licenses suspended more than 60 and 70 times!  Outrageous! 

We think it’s a positive sign that state lawmakers from both political parties and civil rights groups are now actively trying to address the problem.   Representative Peter Lucido of Macomb County has been leading the charge for a couple years now.  The latest bill he has introduced would allow police officers to remove a suspended driver’s license plate when they are stopped, so that individuals can’t continue down the road in the same vehicle.  

State Senator Coleman Young, Jr. of Detroit is writing legislation that would require fines be paid right away when a suspended driver is pulled over.  If they don’t pay, they would face a mandatory 30 to 45 days in jail.  Currently, too many suspended drivers avoid jail time and paying their fines.
In the midst of this debate, the State of Michigan is being sued by the “Equal Justice Under the Law” group because they argue too many poor people are getting their licenses suspended for minor traffic infractions in which they are unable to pay the fines.  This, they say, hinders their employment and medical appointments.  

Driving with suspended licenses is a serious problem!  Too many lives have been taken by some of these drivers.    Thankfully, Michigan is now in the national spotlight to address this growing problem across our state.   We urge all sides to continue working towards bi-partisan solutions with all deliberate speed!

I’m Mike Murri, Vice President & General Manager
Broadcast: July 13 - 16, 2017