The Dallas Morning News reports that only one in seven drivers in Texas applied to have traffic ticket surcharge fees wiped off their plates. Even those who were convicted of drunk driving could have applied and gotten excess fees cancelled - but the program, which began in January, ended in early April.
Surcharges are fees that are piled on top of the ordinary fines and other consequences that come about as a result of some types of traffic offenses.
The Texas legislature created the amnesty program when it found that more than 60 percent of Texas drivers who committed traffic offenses and were assessed surcharges did not pay them, whether it was because they were financially unable to pay or refused to pay. According to the Dallas Morning News, that's 1.2 million Texans.
Many of these drivers fell under a certain category:
- First-time offenders, like first-offense DWI offenders, who are normally saddled with heavy fines if convicted
- Single parents
- Low-income people
Now, Texas legislators are looking to get rid of the program, called the Driver Responsibility Program. All it's done is cause a large number of Texans to ultimately lose their driver's license or become uninsured - not worth it when it comes to first-time offenders, students, single parents, and especially low-income Texans, who need to put food on the table, not pay dubious fees under some so-called "responsibility" program.