Driver responsibility fees were instituted in 2003 as a way to deter dangerous or reckless driving behaviors, including driving with a suspended license and accumulating seven or more points.
The fees were in addition to other civil and criminal fines, amounting to a costly, double penalty. Many people have not been able to afford the fees, leading to a loss of their driver’s license and often — because of the lack of transportation — their job. This also results in an accumulation of outstanding debt. The Department of Treasury recently estimated that 317,000 individuals owe more than $633 million in unpaid fines, much of that regarded as uncollectable.
I recently supported a package of bills that would eliminate the fees on Oct. 1, 2018. Drivers on a payment plan would have their fees eliminated immediately. In addition, drivers who cannot pay fees would be able to get their license back if they pay the fee through a workforce training program. If signed into law, the legislation would help affected drivers get their license reinstated so they can get back to work.