Suspension not automatic for certain violations
Those facing drug-related or other nontraffic violations in Pennsylvania will no longer have their drivers' licenses automatically revoked.
Act 95, which was signed into law in October by Gov. Tom Wolf, is now in effect, according to the governor's office.
The act amends a federal law put into place during the 1990s when the “war on drugs” sought to significantly reduce drug-related crimes.
For years, the federal government threatened states with reduced federal highway funding if they refused to automatically suspend the licenses of those convicted of nontraffic drug crimes.
A news release from Wolf's office said more than 20,000 Pennsylvania drivers' licenses were suspended each year for non-driving offenses.
Jason Beckwith of Action in Recovery, a county program in which those striving for sobriety participate in community service projects, said Act 95 makes sense.
He said those facing drug-related convictions must be able to drive to their jobs to pay their fines and support themselves and their families as they work to improve their lives.
“It just adds more stress,” Beckwith said of revoking the license of a struggling addict. “All it's doing is pushing them closer to using their coping mechanism, which was using the drug in the first place.”
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