Santa Fe leads way to keep New Mexicans driving

For some people, a minor traffic ticket is a mere inconvenience. But for many New Mexicans, a traffic ticket can be the start of a devastating chain of events for them and their families.

In the new year, hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans can no longer legally drive — not because they were dangerous drivers, but simply because they couldn’t afford to pay a traffic ticket. This cruel and counterproductive policy forces people into an impossible choice: Stop driving — and lose access to work and basic needs — or keep driving, thus risking even more insurmountable court debt.

I know — because I’ve been there. After receiving just one minor traffic ticket I couldn’t afford to pay, my license was suspended and I lost the freedom to drive. Like many New Mexicans, my driver’s license is my lifeline for survival — to get to my job, to pick up my kids at school, to bring my parents to the doctor and to access basic necessities.