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A bill that would change the delivery method for notifying a person that his or her driver's license was suspended for violating the law on intoxicated driving was recommended for approval Tuesday by a legislative committee.

Senate Bill 657, by Sen. Bill Sample, R-Hot Springs, would allow for the Department of Finance and Administration to send a notice by first-class mail instead of certified mail. Certified mail requires a signature and returns a green postcard to the sender as verification that it was received.

A first-class letter is delivered directly to the recipient's mailbox.

The change would save the state about $6,000 a year, Rep. Carlton Wing, R-North Little Rock, told the House Committee on Public Transportation as he presented the bill.

The bill sparked numerous questions from the committee about the legal ramifications of not sending the letter by certified mail and questions of how the driver would know about the suspension without the written notification.

[RELATED: Complete Democrat-Gazette coverage of the Arkansas Legislature]

Marla McHughes, an administrator with the finance department, explained that the driver is notified at the time of the citation and arrest that his license is suspended. The notifications go out only when the officer fails to check a box on the citation saying that the driver's license is suspended. The law enforcement officer is also required by law to seize the license or permit upon arrest for intoxicated driving.

-- Jeannie Roberts

Print Headline: Panel backs bill on license notice

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