Drivers could be allowed to work off traffic surcharges

Jan 28, 2013

Low-income drivers who’ve lost their licenses because they owe hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees could soon be allowed to work off their debt.                  

There are no numbers on how many people may be driving without licenses because they can’t pay driver responsibility fees.

The Legislature repealed the surcharges last year for driving with no license, or no proof of insurance.   

But people ticketed before last year for those offenses may still owe hundreds or thousands of dollars – and that affects their ability to hold a job, said Republican state Senator Bruce Caswell.

“And many of these are working poor, if you will, working 8, 9, 10 bucks an hour, and we’ve got to give them a way to get out from underneath this thing, I think, and get their lives set back up again,”  said Caswell.

Caswell wants to allow them to perform community service instead. His proposal would not apply to fees charged for more serious offenses like drunk driving.