Lowcountry group hopes amnesty of suspended driver’s licenses fills jobs, lowers crime rate

South Carolina drivers have one week to apply for forgiveness for any suspensions on driver’s licenses. From March 14 to March 18, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) is taking applications from those who have suspended licenses for certain reasons, to grant them amnesty. NEWS 3 spoke with people in search of jobs who say that lack of transportation sometimes that can cost employees their jobs, and that unemployment drives crime.
Franklin Jenkins is one Jasper County resident working full-time, applying for whatever work he can find.

“It’s depressing, not knowing where your next dollar is coming from, when you got family to feed, people counting on you,” Franklin Jenkins says.

Jenkins lost his job on Friday. Now, he spends time at the unemployment office searching for work.  He is also chauffeuring his friend who’s unemployed, but has a suspended driver’s license. He’s optimistic for them both, since the state is pardoning some suspensions.

“Oh yeah, that’s a good idea. People out here need jobs and they can’t get there because their license is suspended over a seat belt ticket or a speeding ticket that they didn’t pay,” Jenkins says.

The SCDMV will completely or partially pardon suspended licenses under certain circumstances. For example, some of those who qualify include:

  • Drivers under 18 are suspended for excessive points
  • Drivers are suspended for operating an unlicensed vehicle
  • Drivers are suspended for operating an uninsured vehicle
  • Amnesty excludes suspensions for alcohol or drug related convictions

Anti-violence groups are encouraging people to apply.

“I think it has a direct relationship with the reduction of crime. When an individual is working, they’re not committing crimes. They’re out earning a paycheck for their family. And if they have vehicles, and they can get to and from work, that both helps the economy, that helps reduce crime, that adds to our tax base,” group founder Charles Mitchell says.

Groups connect less suspended driver’s licenses to less crime. Jenkins believes a license drives employment…without it, he says making a living is tough.

“See, that’s missing a lot of days, you don’t know how you’ll get to work, calling out a lot…I believe it is harder,” Jenkins says.

To see a full list of how to qualify and apply for amnesty, click here.

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