Hundreds of drivers hit the roads everyday on suspended licenses. Whether it's because of a DUI, no insurance or parking tickets, valley police say it's a big problem.
County Deputy Rodney Morris describes a recent traffic stop:
"I approached the driver and asked her for her driver's license," said Morris. "She replied she didn't have her driver's license with her, but she had a photocopy of her driver's license. Which was an indicator for me that she was probably suspended."
Police say almost everyday they stop people who are driving on a suspended license. The sheriff's office says there are more than 800 drivers in Rockingham County who are driving around with suspended licenses. They also say some of them don't even know about it.
"That's most common," says Morris. "Failure to pay fines or insurance monitoring, which is that little form you get from DMV. If you don't fill that out and send it back in, DMV will suspend your driver's license.”
Along with the growing problem comes the disturbing news that there's not much police can do about it. Two-thirds of drivers with suspended licenses continue to drive. Half of drivers arrested for DUI are repeat offenders. There's less than a 1 in 50 chance a drunk driver will be caught. And unlicensed drivers are more than five times more likely to be in accident.
"Law enforcement's hands are tied," says Morris. "There's nothing we can do but enforce the driver's suspend the law."
People driving with a suspended license can face hefty fines and possible jail time. But the charges are generally dismissed if the offenses are minor.
Drivers that are repeat offenders face stiffer penalties each time they're caught. Repeat DUI offenders can face fines up to $2,500 and five years of jail time.