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Department of State brings free driver's license restoration clinic to Traverse City
August 11, 2023
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – The Michigan Department of State and partners held a free Road to Restoration clinic Thursday at Northwest Michigan Works! Traverse City to help eligible residents learn how to get their driver’s license restored. These clinics, which have been offered across the state over the past two years, have made a life-changing difference for many people.
Expert staff and team of volunteer attorneys met one-on-one with visitors to the clinic, reviewed their case, and advised them on their next steps to get back safely behind the wheel. Staff also assisted in taking payments to clear outstanding fines when applicable and provided Secretary of State office services, including written driving tests, at the clinic.
“Our Road to Restoration program is a model of accessible state government that helps people who need these services the most and meets them where they are in their communities," said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. "This is the second time we've hosted a clinic in Traverse City and I'm proud of the work we've done with our local partners to help Northern Michigan residents get safely back behind the wheel.”
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.
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 safely 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.
Caleb Sapp of Cadillac hasn't had a license for 11 years and was pleased with the progress he made by attending the clinic.
"I just found out what I needed to do, and I should be getting my license back in September," Sapp said. "I’m really grateful for this program. I thought I would need to jump though a million hoops. The Secretary of State before, you used to have to have your driving record, drug assessment letter, notarized letters from people in your community. Obviously, they made it so you don’t have to jump through so many hoops. Seems like they’re really trying to help people get their license back. I’m ready to get my driving privileges back."
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 clinic will be held on Saturday Aug. 12 in Alpena.
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 Michigan.gov/R2R.
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Andrea Rayi of Brethren has an official photo taken by Secretary of State staff at the Road to Restoration clinic.
Secretary of State staff help a Road to Restoration clinic participant in Traverse City.
Road to Restoration clinic attendees wait their turn to be helped by staff.
Caleb Sapp of Cadillac attended the clinic in Traverse City and was grateful for the assistance he received.