How to Work When You Have a Suspended Driver's License?

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A suspended license can wreck havoc on your career, especially if driving a vehicle is an integral part of your job. The good news is that you may be able to get a work permit or come up with ride-share options to cover your transport needs.

When Suspension Happens

Your license may be temporarily suspended because of too many tickets, driving without a license, driving while intoxicated or a myriad of other traffic violations. Some states even suspend your license if you fail to pay child support.

Tip

  • Suspension laws and special driving permits vary from one state to another. Check your state Department of Motor Vehicles for specific information. You may be prohibited from driving a commercial vehicle during your suspension, even if you get an exemption for your personal vehicle.

Apply for a Work Permit

Many states grant work driving permits that allow you to drive to and from work and work-related activities. The parameters of the permit are very narrow and specific, and typically will limit you to certain times of day and days of week. You’ll also have to show that you have no other means of transportation and that not having the work permit would result in job loss or other hardship.

Warning

  • Applying for a work driving permit usually requires input from your boss -- the DMV wants to know your schedule and how important transportation is to your job. This can be a tricky proposition, depending on the reason for your license suspension. For example, if you lost your license because of driving under the influence, that’s information you might not want to make your employer privy to.

Warning

  • If you’re granted a work permit and get caught driving anywhere other than work, you could have your suspension time increased or you could even be fined or jailed.

Hitch a Ride

Ask a colleague, friend or family member to give you a ride to and from work. You won’t technically be carpooling, because you won’t be able to reciprocate driving, but you can offer to pay for gas or even chip in for someone else’s routine vehicle upkeep.

Tip

  • Look for drivers who work the same shift or work close to your place of employment.

Get a Bike

Depending on traffic and weather, you may be able to bike, run or walk to work. Not only does this solve your transportation problem, it can also benefit your health. Plan ahead so you can take a shower or change clothes before your shift begins.

Take Public Transportation

If you live close to a bus line, rail line or subway stop that goes near your place of business, you could take public transportation to and from work. In fact, some state DMVs will want proof that you don’t live close to public transit before they consider giving you something like a work driving permit.

Tip

  • A cab or car service can also provide you with transportation, but might be cost-prohibitive.

Telecommute

Depending on what kind of job you have, you might be able to arrange telecommuting, or working from home, during the duration of your suspension. If that’s not possible, ask your boss about compressed work weeks or even partial work-from-home days to limit your reliance on regular transportation.

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