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New York will no longer take away driver's licenses from violators who do not pay fines

30.06.2021, 12: 00 EST

Nurgul Sultanova-Chetin

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New York State Law Abolishes Suspension of Driver's License for Failure to Pay Traffic Fines (Traffic Fines) Pix11.

Photo: Shutterstock

Starting Tuesday, June 29, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will be able to restore their driver's licenses, which were canceled earlier for non-payment of fines. This is because a new law has come into force in the state, ending the widespread practice of suspension of driving licenses for persons who cannot afford to pay a traffic fine.

The Driver's License Suspension Reform Act, initiated by State Senator Tim Kennedy and Assemblyman Pamela Hunter, was approved last year and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, but went into effect on June 29.

The new law also enables debtors with fines to develop plans to pay off this debt. This will also apply to those who are currently suspended driving licenses due to non-payment of fines for traffic violations.

Under the new payment plans, individuals will have to pay only 2% of their monthly income or $ 25 per month in fines for traffic violations, whichever is greater.

Photo: Shutterstock

The new rule also applies to those drivers whose licenses have been suspended due to failure to appear at court hearings in road cases, often due to the inability to pay fines.

"Suspending a driver's license for non-payment of a fine does not mean anything other than punishing low-income families, which are mostly non-white citizens," the authors of the law said in a statement. "The income-based payment plan is fair and gives everyone the opportunity to solve their driver's license problems."

From January 2016 to April 2018, nearly 1,7 million driver's licenses were suspended in New York for non-payment of fines for traffic violations and failure to appear at court hearings, according to the Justice Center for Fines and Fees.

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