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Road to Restoration driver's license clinic helps residents in Sault Ste. Marie

Three Upper Peninsula clinics assisted Michiganders looking to return to safe driving

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – More Michiganders are now on a pathway to safely return to the road, following a Road to Restoration driver’s license clinic put on by the Michigan Department of State (MDOS) and partners today in Sault Ste. Marie. The clinic, hosted by local partner Lake Superior State University, was the last of three successful clinics held in the Upper Peninsula this week.
“Our Sault Ste. Marie clinic wrapped up a very successful effort in the U.P. this week,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “Staff and volunteers helped local residents learn what they need to do to restore their driver’s license, opening the door to better job opportunities and improved quality of life. The Road to Restoration program has grown tremendously since we launched last year thanks to many great local organizations around the state that know the value of hosting our clinics in their community and enthusiastically provide their assistance. With their help, we continue to meet people where they are and bring essential services right to them, making government work for the people.”
The Road to Restoration program was created after changes to state law in 2021 lifted suspensions for drivers who failed to pay tickets for court fines or failed to appear in court for certain non-moving and other violations. While the new laws removed suspensions for more than 150,000 Michiganders, many must still take further action to get their driver’s license restored.
Approximately 200 U.P. residents attended the three clinics in Marquette, Escanaba, and Sault Ste. Marie this week. Participants met with staff and volunteers to determine their pathway to reinstating their driver’s license, continuing a successful public-private partnership that has served more than 7,000 Michiganders throughout the state since 2022.
Each clinic is equipped to provide immediate access to driving records and many Secretary of State office services, including the written driving test, to help people get back behind the wheel as quickly as possible. Participants leave Road to Restoration clinics with a plan to return to the road after taking additional steps based on their personal circumstances, or in many cases, with their restored driver’s permit in hand.
Rachell Stewart, a Big Rapids resident temporarily living in the U.P., lost her driver’s permit at age 18 following a conviction that required her to pay reinstatement fees she couldn’t afford. Today at the clinic, she took her written driving test and learned she was eligible for reinstatement as soon as she submits some final documentation. 
“It was emotional for me,” Stewart said. “I’ve never had a license, so to have my driver’s license – it’s exciting. I can be able to take my kids places. So, I look forward to new starts, new beginnings for me. This program is awesome. I'm glad that you guys are helping everybody, helping others that are trying to get their license back. I think it's great.”
The clinics are a successful public-private partnership that includes the Department of Attorney General, DTE Energy, Miller Canfield, Detroit Justice Center, the Michigan Association of United Ways, and Michigan 2-1-1.
The next Road to Restoration clinics will be held on Aug. 10, 2023, in Traverse City and Aug. 12, 2023, in Alpena. Preregistration for these clinics is now open at
The clinics do not provide DUI/OWI expungement services and license reinstatement is not guaranteed.
Michiganders can learn more about the Road to Restoration program or sign up for a future clinic at

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 Sault Ste. Marie R2R Clinic Photo 1
MDOS staff 'Ring the Bell' with Rachell Stewart of Big Rapids to celebrate that she will have her driving privileges restored for the first time in many years after visiting the Sault Ste. Marie clinic. 



Sault Ste. Marie R2R Clinic Photo 2
A clinic participant receives one-on-one assistance from an MDOS employee so he can understand his options for restoring his driver's license. 


Sault Ste. Marie R2R Clinic Photo 3
Many Secretary of State office transactions can be completed at Road to Restoration clinics including fee payments, vision exams, and new ID photos. 


Sault Ste. Marie R2R Clinic Photo 4
A member of the MDOS team (R) reviews a clinic participant's driving record to determine her next steps in restoring her driver's license. Local partner Lake Superior State University hosted today's clinic in Sault Ste. Marie. 


Sault Ste. Marie R2R Clinic Photo 5
The highlight of every Road to Restoration clinic is when a participant gets to 'Ring the Bell,' signaling that another Michigander has had their driver's license restored. 



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