San Francisco Will Make It Easier For Thousands To Get Back Suspended Driver's Licenses

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on April 16, 2019.
Photo credit Carrie Hodousek/KCBS Radio

SAN FRANCISCO — Thousands of San Franciscans who had their driver’s licenses suspended for missing traffic court could regain their ability to drive.

Under the plan announced on Tuesday by officials, San Francisco would become the first U.S. city to lift suspensions for 88,000 people who've lost their licenses. 

Most of those people who stand to benefit were unable to afford traffic tickets with average fines of several hundred dollars. San Francisco has some of the most expensive fines in the country. 

"We're not saying there shouldn't be consequences," said Mayor London Breed. "But for low-income individuals who can't maybe afford the standard $300 [or> $500 fee, we are working out ways in which people can provide payments."

For many people, losing their driver’s license means not being able to pick up their kids, go to work or pay their bills, said Elisa Della Piana with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the Bay Area. 

"It doesn't make sense to punish that person more than a person with money would be punished," she said. "For people who are low-wage workers, for communities of color, this is a punishment for being poor. 

To find out if your driver’s license suspension has been lifted, you can call the DMV Mandatory Actions Unit at 916-657-6525.