Getting your license suspended can have serious consequences for your car insurance. These are the states with the most suspended licenses.
No one sets out on the road with the intention of getting a speeding ticket or a citation for tailgating, but of course, sometimes things happen. You don’t realize that the speed limit has changed, or your mind wanders for a minute and you find yourself too close to the car in front of you. A single violation also isn’t the end of the world. It might set you back a couple of hundred dollars in fines, unless it’s as severe as a reckless driving citation or a DUI.
It’s when the citations pile up that you could land in hot water. Too many over the course of a year (three to five depending on the state) can get your license suspended, and that has unfortunate consequences for your wallet. A suspended license can raise your insurance costs, making it more costly to find good quotes.
To take a deeper look at suspended license rates, the research team at Insurify, a website for comparing auto insurance quotes, took a look at the data to determine which states have the highest proportions of suspended licenses.
In order to determine which states had the highest share of drivers with suspended licenses, the data science team at Insurify, a website to compare auto insurance quotes, pulled the numbers from its database of over 1.6 million car insurance applications. To receive quotes, drivers input personal and vehicle information as well as information about driving history including whether or not they have a suspended license. The number of drivers with a suspended license was analyzed against the total number of motorists in each state. The top 10 states with the most revoked licenses were then selected. Data on the percentage of drivers with a prior accident also came from the Insurify database, while the numbers on fatalities per 100,000 people were compiled in a 2017 study on vehicle fatalities by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). Information about the percentage of fatal crash drivers with a suspended license was drawn from a 2014 study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Oregon, the only west coast state on the list, kicks off the countdown with the U.S’s 10th highest suspension rate. However, Some cities there are actually trying to make it more difficult to suspend a driver’s license. Legislation was recently proposed in Salem that would not allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to rescind a license for certain types of traffic tickets. That said, it has not been put to a vote yet.
Statistically, Minnesota appears to be a fairly safe place to drive. The Land of 10,000 Lakes has one of the five lowest fatality rates per 100,000 drivers of any state. Its share of drivers that have suffered at least one prior accident is also below the national mean. Given this stellar statewide driving record, what is one possible reason that it still makes the list for drivers with the most suspended licenses? In 2017, it issued roughly 333 speeding tickets per 10,000 citizens, a figure which ranks above the national average, according to a study done by a Honda dealership in Yonkers, New York.
Idaho, which claims the number eight spot on the list, stacks up worse than Minnesota in both safety-related statistics (fatality rate and percentage of drivers with a prior accident). It has a fatality rate well above the national average, though its percentage of drivers with a prior accident is still slightly better than the national mean. The numbers also show that not all the blame rests with drivers whose licenses are suspended. After all, of drivers who have caused a fatal crash, the share whose licenses were actively suspended in Idaho was less than in Minnesota.
Much like Oregon, Tennessee is trying to decrease the number of drivers with suspended licenses. In October 2018, a U.S. District judge ordered that drivers who were unable to pay court costs or traffic ticket fines could no longer have their licenses suspended. In addition, the ruling also stated that drivers with suspended licenses would have to pay no additional fees to have their licenses reinstated. The ruling may pay dividends in the future, but for now the Volunteer State still has the seventh-highest percentage of license suspensions.
Kansas, which claims the number six spot in the top 10, has the highest rate of vehicle-related fatalities per 100,000 drivers of any state on this list, and has the 12th highest share nationwide. In a reversal of trend, it also has the smallest percentage of drivers with a prior accident of any state in the top 10, painting a confusing picture about the safety of driving in Kansas. What is clear, though, is that the Sunflower State has a lot to work on in terms of license suspension.
In Nebraska just five percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes have suspended licenses. That figure, which is well below the national average, is actually tied for the lowest rate in the country. Even so, that doesn’t mean that Nebraska is a perfect place to drive. Its share of drivers with a prior accident is among the 10 worst in the country.
Virginia is home to Reston, the city with the highest proportion of suspended drivers licenses in the entire country. However, that could soon change. Virginia—much like Tennessee—has introduced legislation that will reinstate the licenses of all drivers that had their certifications revoked for unpaid court debts. The law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2019, will restore the licenses of an estimated 613,000 motorists.
The percentage of drivers with suspended licenses in Ohio is more than double the national average, but once again, recently introduced legislation may reduce that number. In June and July 2019, the state is allowing drivers to apply for license reinstatement with an amnesty program that will forgive the debts and reinstatement fees associated with 25 different traffic violations. It’s estimated that nearly 300,000 Ohioans will qualify for the program, an amount that could drastically decrease the number of drivers with license suspensions.
Indiana, which comes in at number two on the list, is worse than average in all the metrics listed above. It ranks among the 20 worst states in the country in both prior accident percentage as well as fatalities per 100,000 drivers, and has a significant suspended license problem to go along with that. Additionally, unlike many of the other states on the list, there’s no current legislation in the pipeline to reduce that percentage.
Williston, which has the second highest percentage of drivers with a suspended license of any city in the country, is the biggest contributor to the suspended license problem for North Dakota, which takes the top spot on the list. Its share of drivers with a suspended license is nearly two and a half times the national average. But that’s not the only issue North Dakota has: just four states have a higher share of drivers involved in fatal crashes with a suspended license, and the Peace Garden State also ranks in the top 10 for vehicle-related fatalities per 100,000 drivers.
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