SB 2176/HB 2037 would meaningfully improve Tennessee’s “No Pass, No Drive” (NPND) law by eliminating the provision that suspends a student’s license if they fail to make “satisfactory academic progress.”
There is little evidence that proves this incentive is successful in improving a student’s academic progress, and it disproportionately affects students across counties and students of color.
For instance, if a student lived in Sequatchie County in 2020, they were more than forty times as likely to have their license suspended as they would have been had they lived in neighboring Hamilton County that year. And it disproportionately impacts students of color – between 2016 and 2018, Black students made up about 12% of licensed student drivers but almost 20% of revocations.
This bill may also feed Tennessee’s school-to-prison-pipeline if students with suspended licenses choose to drive out of necessity to school, jobs, the grocery store, or other family responsibilities. This could result in a student incurring criminal charges, further harming our youth.
Many students who are struggling in the classroom face hardship in their personal lives. Taking away their ability to drive only imposes further obstacles on their path to success. To help our students succeed, we need to encourage lawmakers to pass SB 2176/HB 2037.