driver's license

Stateside
2:57 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Sterling Heights has a multilingual driving school

Anyone who lives in Michigan knows you are at a real disadvantage if you don’t have a driver’s license.

But, let’s say you are an Iraqi who has fled to the U.S. to escape the violence. You’re trying to launch your new life here and you need a way to get to a job or get your kids to school. You need a driver’s license, but you haven’t lived here long enough to get fluent in English. So how do you get on the road?

That’s where you might turn to John Bitti. He runs the Madamma Driving School in Sterling Heights, and he teaches would-be drivers in English, Arabic, or Chaldean. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
12:45 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

State to issue licenses to eligible undocumented immigrants

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson
Secretary of State

Beginning Tuesday, certain undocumented immigrants living in Michigan will be able to get driver's licenses and state IDs.

Earlier this month, Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson reversed her position and said immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and are eligible for temporary federal work permits can get licenses.

Johnson changed her position after the Obama administration clarified that individuals eligible for the permits, called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, can obtain licenses.

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Politics & Government
9:04 am
Mon February 18, 2013

In this morning's news: Undocumented immigrant IDs, film tax incentive, Flint State of the City

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Undocumented immigrants to get state IDs

"Illegal immigrants brought to the country as children can start applying for Michigan driver's licenses and state IDs this week. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's office will begin accepting applications Tuesday," the Associated Press reports.

Lawmakers lobby to maintain Michigan's film tax incentive

"Michigan film producers and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville say they will lobby to maintain the state's $50 million film credits cap. Governor Rick Snyder is calling for a $25 million dollar cap in film incentives in the budget he has proposed. The amount is the same he proposed last year, but lawmakers raised the cap to $50 million during budget negotiations," the Associated Press reports.

Flint mayor to address his State of the City today

"Flint’s mayor plans to use his State of the City address today to talk about how his city can start planning for a future without an emergency financial manager. A state appointed manager has been running the city since December 2011," Steve Carmody reports.

Politics & Government
4:54 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Stateside: Children of undocumented immigrants eligible for Michigan IDs or driver's licenses

Michigan Sheriffs' Association

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

There has been a change of heart, or at least of policy, at Michigan's Secretary of State's office.

Word came down late last week that thousands of children of undocumented immigrants in Michigan will now be eligible for a driver's license or official state ID.

This was quite a reversal of the stand that had been taken by Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson who now says a review of new federal guidelines convinced her to change the policy.

Cyndy spoke with Miriam Aukerman, staff attorney with the ACLU of Michigan, to talk about the change of policy.

Politics & Government
5:58 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Secretary of State: No change planned during driver’s license policy review

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson
MI SOS

No changes are planned right now to a policy that denies Michigan driver’s licenses to immigrants brought to the U.S. as young children by parents who entered illegally.

That’s despite a federal rules change that says they are in the country legally.

Michigan is one of a handful of states that continues to deny driver’s licenses to these young immigrants.

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office said the state’s policy is under review.

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Politics & Government
5:00 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Drivers could be allowed to work off traffic surcharges

Michigan Sheriffs' Association

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.   

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Politics
3:18 pm
Sat March 31, 2012

3 unpaid parking tickets could stop drivers

Flickr user alicegop

Here's another reason to pay your parking tickets: Your driver's license could be blocked.

A Michigan law kicking in on May 16 says three unpaid parking tickets can prevent renewal of a license. The current threshold is six.

Local governments notify the secretary of state when someone has too many unpaid parking tickets, although some communities are more aggressive than others. Birmingham in suburban Detroit turns unpaid tickets over to a collection agency.

Politics
3:53 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Michigan Governor Snyder signs bill eliminating some "driver responsibility" fees

Governor Rick Snyder has signed bills to eliminate the fees charged to drivers convicted of driving without a license or insurance.

The $150 or $200 fees had to paid for two years on top of any other fines assessed for the infractions.

Critics say the fees were not fair, and encouraged some people to continue driving without a license or mandatory insurance coverage.

The fees generated somewhere between $8 and $13 million a year to help balance the state budget.

There is a movement in the Legislature to eliminate driver responsibility fees for some more-serious offenses, such as drunk driving, but it would cost the state money it cannot replace.

Politics
5:25 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Getting rid of Michigan's "driver responsibility" fee

A sunset for Michigan's "driver responsibility fee"?
Josh Angehr Flickr

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.

Politics
3:54 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

State lawmakers try to reduce driver responsibility fees

The additional annual fees Michigan driver’s pay if they have seven or more points on their license may soon be reduced. The state House is expected to vote this week on proposed changes to the unpopular driver responsibility fee.

The state currently collects about $120 million every year from drivers with at least seven points on their records. State House spokesman Ari Adler said that’s too much money to simply cut from the state budget.

“We looked at doing this in a little bit more of an incremental approach without taking so much money out of the budget all at once,” Adler said. “The long term goal is to try to reduce or eliminate these driver responsibility fees but the reality is that there is a good chunk of the budget that is predicated on these fees and penalties.”

Senator Bruce Caswell agreed the state cannot afford to completely eliminate that amount of money from the budget right now but he said the fee is unfair to drivers who have already paid their fines.   

“These later bills coming, I don’t care what the charge is, are inappropriate I believe and shouldn’t be done. So my hope eventually is to get rid of this thing   entirely,” said Caswell.

Drivers with seven or more points on their license are assessed the annual fee in addition to the cost of their ticket. The proposal would omit or reduce the fee for minor infractions, but major traffic violations, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, would still be assessed the annual fee.

More older, fewer younger drivers
1:34 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Older drivers on road increase as younger drivers decrease

A new study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute indicates that older drivers are hanging onto their licenses for a longer period of time - while the number of young people with drivers' licenses is falling.

Both trends have safety implications.

Eighty percent of 18-year-olds had a driver's license in 1983.  That number had fallen to 65 percent by 2008.

Younger drivers tend to have more accidents.  So fewer of them who drive could make the nation's roads safer.

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State Law
6:40 am
Fri July 22, 2011

Law clarifies graduated license rules

YoungladAustin Flickr

A new law seeks to clear up some confusion on when teen-aged drivers may have other teens in a vehicle with them. Governor Rick Snyder signed the law yesterday. It says teen drivers may carry passengers between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. to and from school, church, or work-related activities.

Jack Peet is the traffic safety manager for AAA of Michigan. He says it was good to make the law more clear. But he says the law could have been made better if it placed some new restrictions on passengers in vehicles driven by teens. He says passengers increase the likelihood that a teen will be in a fatal crash.

 “So limiting those to no teen passengers in the vehicle would be our preference and we’re just talking about drivers there. Obviously, adding teen passengers during that time frame increases the risk for those teen passengers as well, so this would make teens a lot safer if there were stronger restrictions on that.”

Peet says it would make sense to at least have a no-passengers rule when a teenager first gets a license to drive without an adult in the car.

State Law
1:03 pm
Sat March 5, 2011

Class helps ticketed drivers avoid points

Mark Brush Michigan Radio

Let’s say you get busted for speeding, disobeying a stop sign, or failing to yield. You still have to deal with the ticket by contesting it or paying up. But if you’re eligible you’re going to get a letter in the mail from the state. It’ll tell you about a class you can take online or in a classroom.

The new driver improvement course is a refresher on traffic safety.

Drivers who pass the class within sixty days can avoid getting points put on their records and that helps keep insurance rates low.

The program started in January and more than 1,000 drivers have taken the course so far.

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State Legislature
6:46 am
Tue January 18, 2011

Bill to repeal Driver Responsibility Fee is expected this week

Michigan's Captiol Building, Lansing, MI
Terry Johnston Flickr

A bill that would repeal Michigan's unpopular Driver Responsibility Fee is expected to be introduced in the state Senate this week, Laura Weber Reports. The annual fee goes to Michigan drivers who have seven or more points on their license. A repeal of the fee was approved by the state House last year but it stalled in the state Senate.

Democratic state Senator Bert Johnson says most lawmakers want to get rid of the fee, but don’t want to lose the money it brings in to the state, Weber reports.