The roads are full of people who aren’t legally allowed to drive—in large part because lots of people ignore license suspensions. Roughly one in 10 American motorists doesn’t have a valid license, experts tell the St. Petersburg Times, and though some never had them, most lost them due to either on-road mishaps or financial hardship. In many places, unpaid parking tickets or child support can trigger license suspensions, as can missed court dates.
According to AAA estimates, two-thirds of people with suspended licenses drive anyway. If they’re caught it “almost always destroys their chances of pulling themselves out of a hole,” says one assistant Florida state attorney, as costs of tickets, court dates, and more pile up. “Some of it is a trap,” says one judge, “and some of it is the defendant’s fault.” One prosecutor has some simple advice for suspended drivers: Stop driving. “It only becomes a vicious cycle if you continue to drive.”