Law Suspends Driver’s Licenses If a Person Owes Debt to the State

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- As of February 1st, a group of more than 14-hundred South Dakotans had their driver’s licenses suspended.

“So we check that file daily and send out notices to people that their licenses will be suspended if they owe debt to the state. We give them ten days for that suspension to go into effect, “says Jane Schrank, Director of Driver Licensing.

Officials say the people affected all have unpaid fines and fees. Each of them owes at least one thousand dollars to the state.

“Some of those made payment arrangements or paid their debt before their license was suspended, “says Schrank.

Once payments are made, it’ll still cost residents to get their driver’s licenses back. They have to pay a 50 dollar reinstatement fee plus an application fee. It’s all part of a law passed in 2015, but not everyone is a big fan of this program.

“I heard about it when it first passed, certainly even then I questioned the efficacy of anything that actually would deter people from having a job and make it more difficult for them to pay off their bill, “says Jeff Barth, Minnehaha County Commissioner.

Supporters of the law say it’s a way to help the state collect unpaid debt. Barth says he wants people to pay their bills but believes officials can come up with better solutions.

“I would say, that if you were to not let people have a driver’s license but gave them a type of permit that would let them drive to work, “says Barth.

Anyone looking for additional information can contact the state’s Bureau of Administration.

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