HB 144: Stop Suspending Driver Licenses Due to Non-Driving Drug Offenses
This bill passed the House 50-16 and the Senate unanimously.
Federal law once required states to suspend the driver license of a person convicted of a drug offense. That law has since changed, and most states have now done away with this restriction. In fact, only 12 states still suspend driver licenses for non-driving drug offenses—including Utah.
But while it makes sense to suspend the license of a person guilty of a crime pertaining to driving, it does not make sense to do it for a crime wholly unrelated to operating a vehicle.
Enter Representative Cory Maloy, who is sponsoring House Bill 144 to remedy this problem. And it is a problem: suspending a person’s license leads to less mobility, unreliable transportation, and thus loss of employment and increased economic instability. An average of 9,468 Utahns have their driver license suspended each year for a non-driving related drug offense each year.
The new law would eliminate the option for a judge to suspend a person’s driver license for a drug offense unless the court finds that the person was operating a vehicle at the time of the offense.