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A driver's license suspension has become a one-size-fits-all punishment for a variety of offenses that have nothing to do with driving.

Woman pulled over by policeIn 32 states, judges can suspend someone's license the first time they are caught driving without insurance. In seven states, first-time offenders can also be jailed.

The Consumer Federation of America, which asserts that many drivers are uninsured because they can't afford the cost, found that states with harsh penalties for uninsured drivers don't enjoy lower rates of uninsured drivers, indicating that suspensions don't serve their intended purpose.

Opponents aren't suggesting people drive uninsured vehicles. Rather, they argue, license suspensions inhibit people's ability to pay for the necessary insurance. Someone whose driver's license is suspended cannot legally drive a friend's, family member's or employer's automobile, making it difficult to find and keep a job.