CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In recent years the Texas Department of Public Safety had a policy in place that required motorists convicted of certain traffic offenses to pay an extra fee or surcharge on top of any fines or penalties for the actual traffic violation.
A 3News viewer left a message on our Facebook page asking if the surcharges are going away as of Sept. 1.
Recently Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 2048 ending the driver responsibility program. The program required Texans who were convicted of certain traffic offenses after Sept. 1, 2003, to pay an annual surcharge on top of criminal penalties and court fines in order to maintain their driver's licenses.
Individuals who were convicted of one of those offenses were forced to pay the following annual surcharge for three years after the conviction:
- Second DWI - $1,500
- DWI with Blood Alcohol level of .16 or more - $2,000
- No Insurance - Up to $250
- Driving While License Invalid - $250
- No Driver's License - Up to $100
The change in the law will allow almost 1.5 million Texas drivers with suspended licenses back on the road. According to DPS figures from May:
- 634,933 people will automatically have their suspensions lifted Sept. 1 because they have no other fees or suspensions.
- 350,027 people will have their suspensions lifted when HB 2048 is enacted after paying a reinstatement fee.
- 398,163 people will be eligible to have their suspensions lifted after they resolve other reasons for their license suspensions, such as failure to pay or appear.
Most 400,000 Texas drivers will be eligible to have their suspensions lifted after taking care of other reasons like failure to pay or failure to appear.
After Sept. 1, all surcharge assessments will be waived and no future surcharges will be assessed after. You will still be responsible for any other suspensions, fines or fees on your driving record.
Drivers are still required to pay their surcharge installment payments until Sept. 1.
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