Texas’ Drivers Responsibility Program May be Scrapped
If you were unaware, Texas has a law that passed back in 2003 called the Texas Drivers Responsibility Program. Through certain traffic law violations (dwi, no insurance, etc.) you are required to pay yearly "fees" to the state of Texas over a certain period of time. If "fees" aren't paid, your driver's license is suspended.
I have had to do this. Back in 2013, I had just settled of my divorce. During our separation, she paid the car insurance, I paid the cell phone bill. Once the divorce was final, neither had to do either anymore. Well, my car insurance lapsed. As luck would have it, I got pulled over. Because I had no insurance, I had to take part in the Texas Drivers Responsibility Program.
Here was my main issue with it, the only communication that you have between yourself and the program is the U.S. Postal Service. No phone call, no e-mail, no modern communication of any kind. As happens on occasion, physical letters get lost in the shuffle of the mail.
Apparently, whatever notice I was supposed to get never arrived. It wasn't until I went to renew my driver's license that I found out I was in the program. The DMV gave me a number to call to get more information. Turns out, my license had been suspended for three months without me receiving any notice that I had to pay these yearly "fees" because of the no insurance ticket. If I hadn't had to renew my license, I could've gone a couple of years without knowing.
After spending about an hour on the phone railing on the person on the other end just so they would understand my frustration and how ridiculous their communication process is, I got the wheels rolling on paying the "fees" for the next three years, a total of $780. Everything is fine now.
Now, Richmond, Texas Representative, John Zerwas, has introduced a bill that would eliminate this program entirely. The "fees" were to go toward offsetting the costs of care from accidents from "dangerous drivers". To keep the money coming in, all traffic fines would be raised by $20, $2 would be added to our car insurance bills and a fine increase of $6,000 if convicted of drunk driving.
It still has a couple more steps to go but I welcome this change. The whole paying a new fine for three years after you've already paid your fine business wasn't working.
Read the full report on this new bill at houstonchronicle.com.