The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board announced yesterday the MBTA is no longer proposing driver's license non-renewals as a penalty for failure to pay fare evasion tickets.

Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, released the following statement in response:

“We are pleased that the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board will not move forward with a new policy that would have marked driver’s licenses for non-renewal when someone does not pay their MBTA fare. The purpose of a driver’s license is to show that a motorist knows the rules of the road and is a safe driver. Driver’s license suspensions and non-renewals should be imposed for the limited purpose of keeping unsafe drivers off the road, not as a debt-collection mechanism. Too often, debt-based driver’s license suspensions perpetuate financial instability by forcing people to choose between driving with a suspended license to and from work—or not driving and losing income and access to services. Massachusetts must do all that it can to end this unfair practice.”

The ACLU of Massachusetts supports H.3453 and S.2304. “An Act to Eliminate Debt-Based Incarceration and Suspensions” would eliminate several debt-based license and registration suspension triggers that are not related to safe driving, like failure to pay indigent counsel fees or parking tickets. It would also create a process for judges to reduce fines and fees if a person does not have the means to pay.