Texas may drop extra charge in DWI, no-insurance cases

It is nice to see liberty making some progress for a change:

AUSTIN — Lawmakers are considering eliminating a program that requires those charged with offenses including driving while intoxicated and failure to have insurance to pay state surcharges.

Nearly 60 percent of those with the surcharges — about 1.2 million drivers — are unwilling or unable to pay and owe the state more than $1.1 billion.

The surcharges are part of the Texas Driver Responsibility Program. The Senate Criminal Justice Committee recently called for the program to be eliminated, calling the increasing number of drivers who are unlicensed and uninsured because of it “unacceptable.” Drivers who refuse to pay lose their licenses.

Texas Department of Public Safety DPS, under orders from the Legislature, began offering an amnesty program in January that allows delinquent drivers to settle up and get their licenses back by paying 10 percent of the amount they owed.

The Texas Driver Responsibility Program was approved by the Legislature in 2003 to raise money for highways and trauma care, but no money from the program has ever gone to highways because of a lack of payments, and trauma centers have received only a fraction of what was intended.

DWI offenses carry the biggest surcharges — $1,000 a year for three years on the first conviction and $2,000 a year if the blood alcohol content is twice the legal limit. No car insurance and an invalid license draw a $250-a-year surcharge for three years. Surcharges must be paid in addition to regular fines assessed for those violations.

“These surcharges are not changing behavior, not being collected and are creating a new class of criminals each day by adding to the 1.2 million unlicensed and uninsured drivers in the state,” the Senate committee said in a report to the Legislature.

Two other states that tried similar surcharge programs abandoned them because of the huge number of drivers who would not pay.


I don’t like drunk drivers, but it seems that the state surcharge constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment”, as indicated by The Peoples’ unwillingness to pay it.

Kudo’s to my fellow Texans.

2 Responses to “Texas may drop extra charge in DWI, no-insurance cases”

  1. Reveille Says:

    I was shocked when I first heard about this, in total disbelief! I hope that they do away with it. My feelings are just like yours on this issue.

    • What really bothers me is that this law is, by their admission, a money grab.

      So it seems that the way it is done is you find a grouping or subgrouping of people that you think the public sympathy will be low for, then make a law about them.

      It is what the history channel says was done with hemp and marijuana. public sympathy for hispanics and blacks was very low. During prohibition, when liquor was expensive, pot was their past time of choice. Soon enough, you have social stigma and a way to victimize a minority.

      This process is discussed openly in the article, and since people just aren’t paying it, they will do away with it.

      Apathy as a method of protest actually works? And then the response is apathy? LOL…talk about bizarro.

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