Driver's License Suspensions: A Dilution Effect?
11 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2013
Date Written: April 23, 2013
Societal animosity toward suspended drivers occurs relatively infrequently unless a life changing event, such as a fatal crash, occurs. The general public vacillation between revulsion, impatience, cynicism, and apathy may be due to the perceived diluting of driver license suspensions. Dilution occurs when legislators suspend a driver’s license for violating non-highway safety laws. With this dilution of drivers’ license suspensions, indifference sets in and the importance of driver’s license suspension wanes in the public sphere. The objective for this study is to explore the dilution effect of driver suspension policies. Results indicate that as a group, non-highway safety suspended drivers differ from licensed drivers when either citations or crashes are considered. Further analysis indicates that a specific sub-group of non-highway suspended drivers, suspended due to failure to maintain liability insurance, may underpin the overall results for the difference between non-highway safety suspended drivers and the average licensed driver. Exclusion of driver’s suspended for failure to maintain liability insurance appears to change the results, indicating that non-highway safety suspended drivers are similar to licensed drivers in citations and crashes. When excluding those suspended for failure to maintain liability insurance, the dilution effect appears to be supported given the remaining non-highway safety drivers appear to be similar to average licensed drivers when considering citations and crashes. This outcome suggests two results. The first is that those suspended for not maintaining liability insurance may be misclassified under non-highway safety suspended drivers as indicated by their crash and violation occurrences relative to other non-highway safety suspended drivers. Second, the results may indicate potential policy interventions to address the role of liability insurance, such as graduated licensing after suspension for those suspended due to lack of liability insurance. These potential policy options are explored in-depth using the literature focused on ability to pay as a remedy to suspension, thereby reassessing the purchase of insurance as a non-highway safety suspension offense.
Keywords: suspended drivers, citations, crashes
JEL Classification: J68
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation