Crime & Courts

Wichita board hosting Saturday event to help suspended drivers get back on the road

The Wichita Racial Profiling Advisory Board is holding a workshop Saturday to help residents with suspended licenses get their driving privileges back.
The Wichita Racial Profiling Advisory Board is holding a workshop Saturday to help residents with suspended licenses get their driving privileges back.

Lost your driver’s license? Wichita’s Racial Profiling Advisory Board wants to help you get it back.

The board has scheduled a workshop on Saturday to advise would-be motorists on how to get their driving privileges back if they’ve been suspended for unpaid tickets, said Walt Chappell, vice chairman of the board.

The event will feature representatives of the Department of Motor Vehicles, state legislators, local attorneys and insurance agents.

A data request Chappell filed shows there have been more than 40,000 unpaid tickets in Wichita since 2016.

While many of those drivers have more than one outstanding citation, it still indicates that thousands of residents have lost or are in danger of losing their licenses because they can’t pay their fines and court costs.

Chappell said suspension of a driver’s license can lead to a downward spiral and even homelessness as fines pile up for unresolved tickets.

“The Wichita Municipal Court and others across the state have created such huge debts that no one can afford to pay,” Chappell said in an e-mail. “People are desperate. They are under ‘house arrest’ until they can find a way through the expensive bureaucratic and legal maze.”

Many people are tempted to drive without a license so they can get to school or work. But if they’re caught, it means more fines along with mandatory jail time and car impoundment fees, he said.

The workshop will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24 at the Urban Preparatory Academy, 2821 E. 24th St. North.

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