Politics
5:25 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Getting rid of Michigan's "driver responsibility" fee

An unpopular state fee that penalizes drivers with multiple moving violations could soon be eliminated. A proposal approved by the state Senate today would eliminate part of the so-called “driver responsibility” fee.

The annual fee is assessed for drivers with seven or more points on their licenses. The bill would end the fees for minor traffic violations, such as driving with an expired license.

Senator Bruce Caswell sponsored the bill. He said he’d like to see the fee eliminated completely, but the state cannot afford to cut the program entirely right now.

“It’s a budget process and we’re losing money, and we have to figure the amount we take away each year based upon what the budget can afford,” Caswell said. “And monies are tight so we eliminated as much of it as we could and the constraints of what we feel the monies are that we’ll have available.”

State Senator Burt Johnson said other states have already gotten rid of similar fees. He said he hopes to see the fees eliminated completely by the end of next year.

“Most of us here including the governor agree that the driver’s responsibility fee and the entire code was ill-conceived and it was wrong to put a tax, put that kind of fundraising burden on tax payers,” said Johnson. “And it really amounts to debtor’s prison so I think everybody wants to see the entire code stricken.”

The measure has been sent to Governor Rick Snyder for his signature.