A lot of Wisconsin drivers are on the road without a valid license. The Appleton Post Crescent reported this week that there were more than 74,000 convictions for operating a vehicle with a suspended license in 2013, and another 14,000 for driving on a revoked license, according to numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
“Any time you see a number like that, it is a little bit of a shock,” said Jim Palmer, executive director with the Wisconsin Professional Police Association. “But when you talk to law enforcement officers across the state, I don’t think they would be surprised by this at all.”
Only a fraction of those driving with a suspended or revoked license are caught, and Palmer said most people probably feel they have little choice, particularly those in rural areas. “There aren’t a lot of public transportation options, so if someone wants to get to work, they’re going to get in their car,” he said. “They take their chances, and it’s clear that those people are being located by police officers. But unfortunately, it’s after another traffic violation.”
Palmer said many people don’t have the money to pay fines or reinstatement fees, and other than citing them for driving without a license, there really isn’t a lot for law enforcement to do.