Many bad drivers in Texas not paying up

| 9/18/2007

A new law in Texas is intended to help the state collect about $600 million in revenue from bad drivers.

The new law, previously SB1723, enables the state’s Department of Public Safety to offer periodic amnesty programs for the nearly 775,000 drivers who haven’t paid state surcharges for driving violations. It is a follow-up to a 2003 law that added fees ranging from $100 to more than $2,000 for various violations.

Since the rule took effect four years, ago only 30 percent of the 1.1 million drivers directed to pay the surcharges have complied. That state has collected only $288 million of the $886 million billed under the program, The Associated Press reported.

Money from the surcharges is divided evenly between state highways and trauma centers.

Violations pegged to bolster funding include repeat citations, drunken driving, and driving without insurance or a license.

The charges begin at $100 a year when drivers have reached six points, such as three speeding tickets. The surcharges run for three years.

Once drivers accumulate enough points or are convicted of more serious offenses, a letter and bill for the surcharge is sent to them.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Texas in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor