Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Driver's License Suspension Policies as a Barrier to Health Care

TitleDriver's License Suspension Policies as a Barrier to Health Care
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsJoyce NR, Zullo AR, Ahluwalia JS, Pfeiffer MR, Curry AE
JournalAm J Public Health
Date Published12/2019
Type of ArticleJournal

Every year approximately 3.6 million Americans miss or delay health care due to transportation barriers, resulting in increased costs and potentially serious long-term health consequences. Lacking access to a vehicle is the most commonly reported transportation barrier to care. Yet, beginning in the 1990s states began to use the threat of driver license suspensions as a means of compelling compliance with a variety of laws and regulations unrelated to driving. Up to 80 percent of all license suspensions are for a non-driving-related (NDR) event, such as failure to pay a court fee or appear in court. Evidence suggests that NDR suspensions are disproportionately imposed on low-income and racial and ethnic minority drivers who are already more likely to face other barriers to care. In this commentary, we discuss the implications of a NDR suspension for access to health care. We conclude by advocating that suspension policies should be viewed through the lens of a "Health in All Policies" framework that requires coordination across agencies outside of the traditional medical system. 

Alternate JournalAm J Public Health
PubMed ID31693414