Driver’s License Suspension and Restoration in Durham

Project Team

How does driver's license suspension and reinstatement affect life outcomes for Durham residents?

Millions of people have had their licenses suspended for failure-to-pay fines from traffic citations. Without a valid driver’s license, individuals lack legal transportation that allows them to get to jobs and attend to other family needs. By disrupting employment, revoking the licenses of those who cannot pay court fees can further disrupt their ability to pay, creating a vicious cycle and preventing self-sufficiency. 

To better understand the impact of license suspension and reinstatement, this project evaluated the Durham Expunction and Restoration (DEAR) program. Through interviews with program participants and professionals, the team found that very few community members have had their licenses restored. Confusion, poor communication, and administrative barriers often prevent license restoration. In light of this discovery, the team offers policy recommendations to improve outcomes for the residents of Durham – especially the most vulnerable.

Driver's License Suspension and Self-Sufficiency

Poster by Anna Gassman-Pines, Clinton Boyd Jr., Adrienne Jones, Warren Lowell, James McIntyre III, Jada Purkett, Richard Qi and Katherine LoBue (runner up, Bass Connections Poster Competition, Judges’ Selection)

Project poster.