An effort is underway in New York to identify and remove from the road those people operating motor vehicles without the proper state issued driver’s license.

Each year in New York hundreds of thousands of people are convicted of driving without a valid driver’s license. This has prompted some state officials and traffic safety experts to question whether or not enough is being done to find and remove these drivers from the road. The resultant public awareness campaign has attracted the attention of public safety advocates who are now calling for the state, specifically police departments statewide, to crack down on these scofflaws.

Between 2007 and 2011, there were 10,699 convictions in Broome County for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, from violations to misdemeanors and felonies, according to data kept by the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Across New York, the convictions numbered 881,714 during the same time period.

About 90 percent of the offenses in Broome involve people who fail to pay fines for repeated minor traffic violations, with the rest consisting of more serious felony offenses tied to drunken driving charges, said Broome County Sheriff’s Cpt. Frederick Akshar.

“But it’s all an issue because you know if you have repeat offenders, they’re putting the public at risk,” he said.

If you live in the state of New York and you are driving without a valid state driver’s license, you run the risk of being cited by police and facing stiff penalties such as fines as the possibility of not being able to get a new license in the future.