Thursday, May 14, 2009

Indigency program for 'driver responsibility' fees?

The Texas House yesterday approved Sunset legislation for the Department of Public Safety, and it looks like Sylvester Turner added a couple of good amendments regarding the Orwellian-named "Driver Responsibility" surcharge, which adds a large, multi-year administrative fee on top of criminal penalties for DWI and no-insurance cases. The first one required DPS to make rules establishing an "indigency" program for the surcharge, and the second one required notice and mandated a 75% reduction if they're deemed "indigent" by DPS rule. Much needed.

I'm sure there's technically a budgetary cost to the amendment, but with a 70% non-payment rate on the fee - a situation that's resulted in a staggering 10+% of Texas drivers scooting around the roads with outstanding arrest warrants - the money the state forgoes wasn't really coming in anyway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was doing a ride-along with a cop one day and he stopped a pizza delivery driver going a bit fast around a curve. The guy had an outstanding warrant for failing to pay the state it's "driver responsibility fee" after previously been cited for driving without insurance. Now had the insurance and was working but hadn't paid the fee so off to jail! Assumed he lost his job as hot pizza's were left in the car that was impounded and towed. What a waste of time and money.