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Posted on Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 5:56 a.m.

Michigan is making a new class of criminal over traffic ticket fees under Driver Responsibility Program

By Rich Kinsey

If you are not wealthy, you had better be a good driver. The Driver Responsibility Program established by the Legislature in 2003 has created a new class of criminal in Michigan.

The program amounts to a double jeopardy fine for certain traffic offenses (,1607,7-213-32166---,00.html). That is, once you have paid the fine for certain violations, you still have to pay “driver responsibility” fees. Those driver responsibility fees may be up to $1,000 and must be paid for two years after your violation (e.g. a total of $2,000).

If you do not pay your driver’s responsibility fines within 30 days, your license will be suspended. That becomes a huge problem because, if you are caught driving while your license is suspended, you will again be fined, and you will have to pay $500 driver’s responsibility fees for the next two years in addition to the original driver responsibility fees you were assessed.

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If you have a suspended license, you cannot get car insurance, because car insurance will only cover licensed drivers. With no insurance you cannot register your vehicle (i.e. you can not get a license plate or sticker).

If you drive with no insurance and expired plates, you can be cited. If you are cited you will have to pay fines and for no insurance you will now have to pay an additional driver’s responsibility. For the failure to have car insurance, depending on how the violation is issued, driver responsibility fees are $500 or $200 per year for two years to maintain your driver’s license.

Those driver’s responsibility fees build up in a hurry and drive a person deeper and deeper into debt.

I know of one fellow who started with a traffic ticket he did not pay and got his license suspended. He drove on a suspended license to get to work in order to pay the fines and got another driving while license suspended ticket and thus more driver responsibility fees. The long and the short of this fellow’s plight is that he became $14,000 in debt to the Michigan Secretary of State (driver’s responsibility fines are actually paid to the state treasury).

This guy could not come up with the money without working. He could not work without driving. He is in a catch-22, between a rock and a hard spot predicament that has no cure in sight.

The Driver Responsibility Program has forced a guy like that to become an “outlaw” if he drives to get to work and just another un-employed worker in this state if he follows the law. What chance does a person have to get or keep a job if he cannot drive to work?

In 2009, the Driver Responsibility Program allowed some drivers to set up a payment plan for delinquent Driver Responsibility Fees. The plan allows drivers to space out payments of their Driver Responsibility Fees over two years and allows them to drive.

However do not forget between year one and two, more Driver Responsibility Fees are due.

OK, now let’s say this driver gets all his fines and driver responsibility debts paid for. My goodness, what a relief it will be to get a valid license again. Hold the celebration on the valid license, though. That person must pay the $125 license reinstatement fee before being eligible for a license again — holy triple jeopardy, Batman!

What a wonderful state agency. If there are budget shortfalls, all you have to do is raise fines and come up with a program like the driver responsibility program.

This driver responsibility program is wrong. Most professionals in the criminal justice system think it is wrong. For this reason, many police officers are disregarding a driver’s license suspension if the suspension is for non-payment of DRF (Driver’s Responsibility Fees).

The officer who would have written a citation or sought prosecutorial authorization for driving with license suspended and seized that driver’s actual license is now either not writing the ticket or writing a ticket for Operator Driving Without a Valid License. That puts the officer in a trick bag, however, if he allows an “unlicensed” driver to drive away.

If a Driving While License Suspended ticket goes to court and the suspension is for nonpayment of driver’s responsibility fees, many times those prosecuting and the court will allow the driver to plead to No Operator’s License on Person. This would seem to indicate that prosecutors and judges are not pleased with the Driver Responsibility Program either.

Michigan’s Driver Responsibility Program is wrong and a bad way to raise revenue. In these desperate economic times, the last thing the State of Michigan needs is a program that is reminiscent of “debtor’s prison” and establishes a whole new class of “criminals.”

Lock it up, don’t leave it unattended, be aware and watch out for your neighbors.

Rich Kinsey is a retired Ann Arbor police detective sergeant who now blogs about crime and safety for He also serves as the Crime Stoppers coordinator for Washtenaw County.



Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.

the 200 dollar fee is if you forget to put the new insurance cert in your car and get pulled over. Despite having insurance(just no proof) One is fined and hit with a 200 dollar fee TWICE, simply for forgetting to put a piece of paper in one's car or worse if the owner loans the car and the drive is pulled over for a busted tail light. It can cost almost 500 dollars between fines and costs....because one forgot a piece of paper....Nazis were reallll good at such schemes back in the day......


Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

Traffic laws are designed to accost the poor. After all they commit all the crimes yes? Repubs and dems gang up on the People in favor of those they really represent...the top 2%

Basic Bob

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

My (almost) experience with this law: I have always had insurance, but once while driving my wife's car, I was pulled over for expired tags. No big deal, if you pay for your tags and show up at the court house, they waive the charge. But I also did not have the current insurance card in the car. Again, no big deal, if you show up at the court house with your card they waive the charge (except a $25 fee!?) Not a big deal unless you are in another part of the state, and you say, the heck with it, it's not worth the trouble, I'll just mail in the fine. Fortunately, I happened to mention this to a person with experience with "Driver Responsibility" before I did this, because I would have ended up paying not only the fine, but two years of "fees" just because I had an expired insurance card in the car. Because I had no "proof". I reconsidered and made a return trip to the distant court house to settle up with the clerk. Naturally I was able to renew my vehicle registration by mail because the Secretary of State has "proof" of insurance ON FILE!


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 9:47 p.m.

As I have said in posts before "The only laws that count are the ones being enforced". After reading the article and comments from another officer, prehaps people can understand my point. If the police refuse to enforce bad laws, they can make a positive change. Kinda like refusing to throw Rosa Parks off the bus. Now if they would just leave us medical weed smokers alone......


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 9:05 p.m.

Good article. With the Rickster in charge, the poor and middle class revenue problems will only get worse. Of course, if you can afford to pay the fines over and over, this law means little.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

Normally, I see Kinsey's by-line and dismiss the article as the bunch of fluff it usually is. I accidentally read this before seeing who wrote it and was shocked to see that I agree. So shocked, that I took a time out for a cold brew to steady myself for posting a supportive response. This law has nothing to do with safety on the roads or driver improvement. It has everything to do with trying to balance the budget on the backs of motorists who commit what the SOS has hoped would be 'non-sympathy-inducing infractions'. Yes, I am a law enforcement officer. Yes, I will tend to not take action on "Mandatory Additional Suspensions" that exist solely for these classes of "crimes". As a law enforcement officer, I call on all my fellows to do likewise. There are far more important crimes and traffic violations we can spend our time on. OWIs, drug dealers, suspended licenses for actual crimes like OWI and such, reckless/careless driving, etc, red light violations at crash-prone intersections... well, you get the idea. If we all just stopped enforcing these draconian edicts it might break the chain and allow otherwise decent folks to recover and start to get ahead. Think of a 'verbal warning' in these cases as a "local stimulus program'! -A local cop with common sense

G. Orwell

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 7:41 p.m.

Google, "Planned-Opolis" and you will know why this law exists.

Ron Granger

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 7:30 p.m.

The author is right - nobody should get $14,000 in fines because they refused to stop driving after their license was suspended or revoked. Obviouslly the fines don't work in some cases. They should be in jail instead.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 7:55 p.m.

If they don't pay the fines they can be called into court for collection. If they fail to show a bench warrant can be issued. I don't know if they can serve time instead of paying but it is certainly costing the government more money to pursue payment in this manner. How about following the laws of the road?


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 6:59 p.m.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I hadn't heard about this law before.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 9:28 p.m.

Actually, not so much. I've been fortunate recently, however. I was a major supporter of the Romulus police department for awhile. I am SHOCKED to find out there seems to be some corruption in that department....

Ron Granger

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 7:29 p.m.

Apparently you drive responsibly, like most people.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.

Ahhh! I see debtor's prison and workhouses on the horizon. Or maybe I shouldn't mention it, in case it gives Lansing some ideas....


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 8:02 p.m.

Sure why not the Government has killed over $200 in tax revenue before...prison is much less harsh...


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.

Someone needs to try a little dose of "judicial activism" and bring a lawsuit against this law on the basis of the 8th Amendment guarantee against excessive fines.I think that given the right case before the right judge they would prevail. Some of your libertarian and ACLU types ought to consider it.

Ron Granger

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 4:35 p.m.

Some people should not be driving a car. Often those people are the type who cannot accept that fact and continue driving regardless. There is always the bicycle. There is car-pooling. There is walking to work, even if that means you must move closer to work. To ignore the law and continue driving is not acceptable and must not be tolerated.

Ron Granger

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 4:34 p.m.

Michigan government is a cornered animal, desperate for revenue. They are going to take it from anyone who has it, and that is not likely to change. Even more under Snyder, because he feels the working class exist to subsidize his business buddies.

Are you serious?

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 4:15 p.m.

A few years ago when I became aware of this law I wrote to all of the Michigan legislators(seems like there were about 20) who authored or cosponsored it. I had two simple questions: Did anyone think about the collateral consequences of this law? Does it actually produce any net revenue? I heard from a few of them and none had any idea. Also contacted the Treasury Department and they said there had been no research into whether the revenue it produced was offset by the cost of collecting it or the cost to the state for thousands of people driving with no insurance. When one realizes that all of us with insurance pay for those without it becomes a very complex issue - which it seems nobody ever investigated. Virginia tried the same thing in 2008 and repealed it a year later. See the following link for some interesting statistics: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 4:15 p.m.

The people who get this &quot;fee&quot; tacked on to all of the other problems they have are the ones least likely to afford it. All of you pompous do gooders bury these people with punishment meant only to fill the state coffers and destroy their lives. How about just suspending their license or throwinmg them in jail? Why does another $500 or $1000 need to be added on to their legal fess, loss of employment, and court costs and fines. This really kicks people while they are down. So much for the &quot;progressive&quot; mind set of rehabilitation, they are more likely to punish that rehab.

C. S. Gass

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 4:13 p.m.

&quot;For this reason, many police officers are disregarding a driver's license suspension if the suspension is for non-payment of DRF (Driver's Responsibility Fees). &quot; Good. The State's own agents undermining State oppression. I hope that continues. The financial mess left by the Granholm Administration cannot and should not be paid off by the drivers in this state simply because they have a big pile of cash (which most don't). Everyone should know, this law was about cash. Not safety, cash. A government which taxes people excessively is at it's core, wrong.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 3:38 p.m.

Last person in Michigan, please turn off the lights.

Mike S

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 3:37 p.m.

Following the money, it looks like it goes primarily into the general fund with a little for the fire protection fund. Maybe it should go into a public transportation fund instead? <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;objectname=mcl-257-732a</a>


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.

Wow! A very interesting perspective when considering the source. Just goes to show that when cops say &quot; sorry man (or lady) I'm just doing my job&quot;--- they often really mean it. As far as our state gov. Is concerned this is just another in a long - and getting longer - list of BS ways to generate cash at the expense of it's citizens regardless of the injustices that are obvious to all. PS. BS stands for the you know what. It also stands for Bill Shuette!

Go Blue

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.

Question is how do we CHANGE this? What can the general public do to get something like this tossed out - or do we, as voters, have no say in this?


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

More laws less cops, is this the American way?

Jim Walker

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 3:05 p.m.

I testified at legislative hearings in Lansing against the passage of this law for the National Motorists Association in 2003. It was obvious that it was unfair, excessive and primarily a revenue grab - NOT a program to improve safety. A Senate analysis in 2006 showed that most serious offenses were UP, not down, as the supporters of the law falsely promised. Roughly 10% of all Michigan drivers have suspended licenses, many because of the Driver Responsibility Act. Most of them must drive to support themselves and their families because there is no viable public transport in most of the state. This means nearly 10% of our drivers are also uninsured. I have testified for the National Motorists Association at four hearings asking for repeal of the DRA. Judges have testified at all four of those hearings asking for repeal. Most judges hate the law because they have no options to fit the sentence to the person. It is utter nonsense to give a $500 for two years fine to a person who has been unemployed for a year, or to a single mother working a minimum wage. You might as well say the fine was $20,000 - they cannot pay it, and likely will never be able to pay. The phrase &quot;debtor's prison&quot; came from a judge at one of the hearings as he begged for repeal. There are two bills in the Legislature now. SB166 as amended so far is a very partial repeal that will end only about 10% of the abusive fines. HB4816 is a better bill with total repeal. I believe there is a back room deal done out of sight of the public to let SB166 pass. BUT it would be far better to end the entire monstrosity of the Driver Responsibility Act. Call your legislators and ask them to support HB4816, but if that fails to be sure to support SB166. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, <a href="," rel='nofollow'>,</a> Ann Arbor, MI


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

Thanks for this good info


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.

It is obvious that some of the readers here don't understand the meaning of double jeopardy. This law was designed to balance the state budget on the backs of those citizens that could least afford to pay. To get caught up in the Secretary Of State's merry-go-round is a losing battle. To pay again, and again for the same offense is not right. You can say &quot;they just shouldn't drive if they are suspended&quot;, but these are men and women trying to feed their families and pay their bills. OK, take their licenses and make them lose their jobs because they can't get to work, and they go on welfare or some other form of assistance that we end up paying for. The sooner this law is repealed the better.


Tue, Oct 11, 2011 : 1:39 a.m.

And if you really think that a few hundred extra dollars from a few tickets is going to balance the state budget, then you need to review your arithmetic.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

&quot;It is obvious that some of the readers here don't understand the meaning of double jeopardy.&quot; Clearly. &quot;Double jeopardy is a procedural defense that forbids a defendant from being tried again on the same, or similar charges following a legitimate acquittal or conviction. At common law a defendant may enter a peremptory plea of autrefois acquit or autrefois convict (autrefois means &quot;previously&quot; in French), meaning the defendant has been acquitted or convicted of the same offense&quot; <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> I didn't read anything about two trials or acquittals. Just a lengthy and somewhat excessive penalty. Perhaps you can point that out to us?

Jake C

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:44 p.m.

I'm conflicted on this issue. On the one hand, having &quot;Driver's Education Fees&quot; on top of the primary offense fees makes it even harder for people to get their license back, making it more likely that they'll continue driving illegally (so they can get to work to earn the money to pay the fees) and getting up even more tickets. On the other hand, to even rack up enough offenses to get INTO the Driver's Education Program requires a whole lot of irresponsibility on the driver's part. You either need to accumulate 7+ points (which takes a whole lot of speeding in a year) or get convicted of a DUI or Reckless Driving, or ALREADY be driving without a license or insurance, which is pretty irresponsible. It's kinda like saying &quot;Here's a criminal who was hoping to get a normal job and be a productive citizen, but there's no jobs available. Then he got caught stealing someone's car radio and now he has to go to jail for a year on top of all his fees. How is he supposed to become a productive citizen now, won't this just encourage him to go deeper into a life of crime&quot;? Welcome to the American Justice System. Maybe your next story can be about how divorced parents who are unemployed and can't pay their child support can end up in actual prison and what that does to the parent's future earning potential.

Jake C

Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 1:48 a.m.

@Hmm: Not true. If you have insurance but don't carry your insurance card, you won't be subjected to the DRF laws if you can bother to show up at the courthouse and show that you're properly insured. And if you're not insured, you probably shouldn't be driving. From the link: <a href=",1607,7-213-32166-99031--,00.html" rel='nofollow'>,1607,7-213-32166-99031--,00.html</a> &quot;*NOTE: Under Public Act 52 of 2004, effective May 1, 2004, &quot;No Proof of Insurance&quot; offenses will not be sent to the Michigan Department of State if the driver can provide proof of insurance prior to the court appearance date on the ticket. &quot; If you just forget to put your new insurance card in your car when it renews, all you have to do is go the the courthouse and show your back-dated proof of insurance to the judge, and in 99% of cases the original ticket is thrown out and maybe you've given a $50 fine, if that. If you can't handle the simplest parts of being a driver (like carrying a license and your insurance card) I'm not sure you should be operating a 4000-pound vehicle travelling at 70 MPH.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 4:10 p.m.

DRF can be levied for something as simple as not having proof of insurance. We are all focusing on the drunk driving thing but there are several ways to have it happen to you. The DUI thing is the most severe penalty as it should be, but DRF in general is just a bad law


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:33 p.m.

What makes me cringe is the comments about the drunk driving. Oh yes, I have seen the effects of that too in my family, and many other families as well, from the tickets, jail time, to funerals. However, look at some of the events that are held yearly that involve &quot;beer.&quot; Old German for one. I was there this year, and I saw all of the police patrolling the event...and saw off duty police as well, enjoying the event. You know darn well why everyone was there, it sure wasn't to enjoy clowns and a pony ride. Sitting there, I overheard a young man tell me &quot;oh yeah, my dad is friends with the local police, who followed me home last year.&quot; My point is...sometimes it's &quot;who you know.&quot; I also was recently told of a story about a person who works for an ambulance service, who transports &quot;drunks&quot;, but this person was also in an accident because of his/her own stupidity. Cried boo hoo when the police arrived, of the job she did and that she couldn't lose it. Well you know what? Another case of who you know...that person is still working. So, when I saw I have family members affected or know those who can least afford it, and then see those who are in the same boat but walk away scott free?? Makes me sick. Fair is fair.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:35 p.m.

**so when I say**...I have family members.

Atticus F.

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

Some people seem to have this flawed belief that the law can never be wrong. This is very short sighted narrow view, that has lead to terrible injustices in the past.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

Atticus _ I don't agree with you too often but this is law is wrong and should be righted


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

Thank you for including the link to the details of the program. It shows how much you have overstated this issue. The ONLY offense that calls for $1000 charge is drunk driving. The other offenses call for much lower charges. You are, actually, opposing punishment of drunk driving. Feel free to do so, but at least be up front about it. &quot;For this reason, many police officers are disregarding a driver's license suspension if the suspension is for non-payment of DRF (Driver's Responsibility Fees).&quot; What is the basis for that claim? Your own behavior when you were a police officer? You, obviously, think it is fine that a police officer is refusing to do his/her job and enforce existing law. Nice to know representative government does not exist in Michigan.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 4:08 p.m.

I don't care if a DRF is $1, it's a ridiculous law plain and simple

City Confidential

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:18 p.m.

This is why I support our public transit system. There are people who cannot afford a car, insurance, etc even with perfect driving records. There are also plenty of people who still manage to hold down jobs by taking the bus to work.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 6:12 p.m.

&quot;There are also plenty of people who still manage to hold down jobs by taking the bus to work.&quot; That's all well and good if you live in/near where you work. Not all of us are that fortunate. I drive 50+ miles round trip 5 days a week and it's not because I enjoy the drive.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 4:06 p.m.

As long as they are off work by 10:00 p.m.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

For those who say its as simple as just obeying the law, then let's just bump the fees up ten fold, 100 fold. If its a good law, lets make it real good. Take the license away from speeders for a year for first offense! That'll teach them! We won't have near as many speeders, and if you stay under the limit you have nothing to worry about., right? Come on people, its about proportion and this law is out of proportion! Good article Mr. Kinsey.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

Money grab!


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

For the first time since you have been writing articles I am in complete agreement with you Rich. DRF is a big time rip off and seriously unconstitutional (IMO) as we are being punished twice for the same offense. And the scenario you laid out with the poor guy going 14K in the hole is not hard to imagine. We need to get rid of the DRF and it should have never been implemented in the first place!


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

That he was drunk driving or driving around with out proof of insurance is not my point CRAIG. My point if you cared to think about things before ignorantly spouting off is that a person who was arrested and charged with a crime was already subject to the penalties that were on the books already. If a person is caught drunk driving there are already penalties in place to address that. You go see the judge they hand out your sentence, you go to jail do community service ,WHATEVER, and that's the end of it. This DRF nonsense is a DOUBLE JEOPARDY in that you are being made to pay a fee on top of your sentence that was already handed to you. How is that legal to do in America? And why do you think it's ok to do that? I get that you don't like drunk drivers, (who does!?), but the fact that you think DRF is some kind of way of preventing people from doing that is pure naivety and shows a lack of understanding about this issue. DRF is nothing but a way for the State of Michigan to bleed a certain group of people out of their money plain and simple. Because that group of people happens to be in a criminal category you act like they have no rights but thank GOD our Constitution protects every citizen equally whether they are innocent or a criminal with basic rights. The right to not be charged twice for the same crime is fundamental right in our country pal and you don't need to be a constitutional scholar to know that!


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:32 p.m.

The only way the &quot;poor guy&quot; had such charges is if he was convicted of drunk driving. That's hwo you are defending. Stick with your day job. You will never be a constitutional scholar.

G. Orwell

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

I would not be surprised if this has something to do with &quot;sustainability.&quot; Some people within our government do not want us to drive. They want us to take public transportation to &quot;save the earth.&quot; if you make driving very expensive, less people can afford to drive. Why do you think there is a huge push to expand bus and train service even though it makes no financial sense?

G. Orwell

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 2:39 p.m.

Obama and the unions. Can't give the banks $16-$27 trillion and not give any scraps to GM and Chrysler when the unions overwhelmingly supported Obama. GM and Chysler had to beg for a loan while banks were GIVEN $800 billion and $16-$27 billion in secret no-interest loans. Even to foreign banks. Also, if the plan is to make driving very expensive in the future, it does not matter how many cars are produced. Or, weather car companies are rescued for the time being.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:31 p.m.

Yeah ! And why did they bail out the auto industry? Dohhh!


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

I got one of these fines in 2005. I was unemployed at the time, however, I called and made arrangements. I'm almost positive I started a job shortly thereafter where I walked to work. If you live in a city where public transportation isn't available I suggest not even putting yourself in this position to begin with. If you live in a city with public trans I guess you're taking the bus or a cab. Of course you could prevent this happening all together by following the laws.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:30 p.m.

Well done!


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.

Thank you for you personal story of owning your mistakes and taking action to resolve them. Too often we hear how people have been wronged without owning their part in it. Kudos.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:47 p.m.

The $1000 fee only applies to Driving While Intoxicated. All the other responsibility fees are lower. To get to $14,000 in fines under the responsibility, you need to get pulled over a number of times and rack up different fees. Suspended license would be $500 a year for two years, 15 points would be another $500 per year for two years, so getting to $14,000 takes some work. I am sorry the guy went out and drove drunk - if he had never done that, he would never have been caught, and this whole sage would never have started in the first place.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:46 p.m.

In some cases the driver's responsibility fees have helped curtail stupid driving. That is to say, it hits people where it really matters, in the pocket book.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.

I agree. There are only four violations that qualify for one-time charges and they are all serious violations: Drunk Driving (Operating While Intoxicated) = $1,000 Reckless Driving = $500 No Proof of Insurance = $200 Drove While License Expired = $150


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:46 p.m.

&quot;This guy could not come up with the money without working. He could work without driving. He is in a Catch-22, between a rock and a hard spot predicament that has no cure in sight.&quot; If &quot;he could work without driving&quot; then there is no catch-22.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:43 p.m.

Mr. Kinsey, thank you for your thoughts, I couldn't agree more. I've seen that scenario in my own family, and it's easy to judge. It's the &quot;triple jeopardy&quot; statement that is so true. It's wrong. For the state to use this as a way to make money is ridiculous.

G. Orwell

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:41 p.m.

Things like this is why we need a small government that works for the people and by the people. Not a bureaucracy that enslaves the public. No wonder libertarianism and the Tea Party (40% are independents and democrats) movement are gaining popularity. Both the Republican and Democratic parties do not represent the people. If they did, a bill like this would never have been introduced, passed, and signed into law. I love how they name bill like this. The &quot;Driver Responsibility Program.&quot; More appropriate title would be, &quot;Screw All Drivers Program.&quot; This law needs to be repealed and the politicians who voted for it, kicked out of office.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

I got hit when my daughter was 16 and 17. A new, inexperienced driver, not doing anything too crazy, just doing a few dumb things that back in the day I would have probably resulting in a warning--this, of course, all being before traffic ticketing became all about revenue production. One, I vividly recall, was a rip in her proof of insurance, if you can believe it. I can tell you I felt angry writing out those checks, it felt very much like extortion and it is like I don't already pay a ton in taxes!


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

.....or what she said to the cop. .....or what else the cop let her off on. .....or why the &quot; a rip in her proof of insurance&quot; wasn't challenged in court. very short on details. Perhaps by design?


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

Are you really claiming that your daughter was hit with charges merely for having a ripped proof of insurance? I don't believe that for a minute. What were all of the violations? It is easier to evaluate your attempted justifications if we know what the violations were.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:41 p.m.

Yikes, wish there was a way to edit.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

ummm and also... If a criminal can find a ride to get to a heist... <a href=""></a> Someone who is willing to make amends and stay within the law can find a way to get to and from work or whatever, IF they CHOOSE to do so.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

Dont blame anyone other than your beloved Jennifer Granholm for this brainchild. That and her &quot;sin&quot; tax to try and raise revenue.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:27 p.m.

&quot;What chance does a person have to get or keep a job if they cannot drive to work?&quot; He should have thought instead of choosing to break the law in the first place.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:26 p.m.

More like fines and spread out over time. It is one thing to have an easy to understanding penalty system but this one boarders on the chaotic and confused. Basically complexity kills the point of the law.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:06 p.m.

It's so simple: If you can't pay the fine, don't do the crime.

Roy Munson

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:06 p.m.

Just another great Granholm program. Thank God she is gone.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

Didn't say it wasn't signed by the guv. But neither am I ignorant nor blind enough to blame legislation that became law solely on the governor. GN&amp;GL


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 4:36 p.m.

Yeah I'm no Republican lover ERMG, but Roy is right, this was signed into law by Jennifer, this is solely her doing. She could have vetoed it if she wanted to but she did not

Roy Munson

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

Yep, but bills like that have all kinds of things put in there for the compromise. Driver responsibility was Granholm's.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

Except that in 2003, the legislature--both houses--was controlled by Republicans. You are aware, aren't you, of the legislature's responsibility in the lawmaking process?? Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 11:44 a.m.

This is one bogus law. Is speeding against the law? Obviously. Are these added on fees justice? Nope. The punishment should be made to fit the crime.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

If you bothered to read the link in the article you would see that there are no program charges for a single speeding offense. Only the following offenses bring charges for a single offense. Other offenses count only for surcharges that start when you have accumulated 7 points on your license. Drunk Driving (Operating While Intoxicated) = $1,000 Reckless Driving = $500 No Proof of Insurance = $200 Drove While License Expired = $150 That's right the $1000 cited in the column only applies to drunk driving.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 11:38 a.m.

If you do not have insurance - YOU CANNOT DRIVE !! Final answer - Insurance rates are trhough the roof for us that obey the rules. Don't be in an accident with someone without insurance - you will see what a hassle it is to us law abiding people,


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 11:05 a.m.

Thats great, so its Michigan fault if anyone breaks the law? Personal responsibility people, learn what that is or your life may not turn out how you want.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 10:46 a.m.

So in order not to be caught up in this web you... Have to drive carefully Obey the law Really? Why that is just horrible!


Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.

Huh. Mike you are the only one making those arguments. Whether you advocate them or not no one else is proposing those analogies or &quot;logic&quot; I asked you a question, I don't have the answer to it for society as a whole. One piece of logic you cannot deny though. If you drive carefully and obey the laws, these laws won't ever affect you or your privilege of driving. No crime, no punishment.


Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 3:15 p.m.

&quot;would there be less violent crime if the perpetrators were executed?&quot; wouldn't there also be less non-violent crime if the perpetrators were executed? wouldn't there also be fewer traffic infractions if the perpetrators were executed? Same flawed logic. The penalties do not fit the crime.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 6:52 p.m.

I'm sorry which logic? That in order not to have these penalties you should drive responsibly? Otherwise I asked G Orwell a question, I did not propose any logical argument regarding violent crime for you to question.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

Ricebrnr, using that logic, why stop at violent crime? Why not include traffic infractions?


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 2:16 p.m.

would there be less violent crime if the perpetrators were executed?

G. Orwell

Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 1:19 p.m.

It is obvious why this is horrible. The punishment does not fit the Infraction. Do you advocate execution for all violent crimes? I hope not.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 10:40 a.m.

This law established in 2003 and this is the first I've heard of it. I believe in being a very responsible driver, but this law is &quot;dumb&quot; -- first off, the offender has to pay a large fine and then a raise in their insurance for any violation. This is just another way for government to make money off the citizens.


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 10:22 a.m.

It's nice to hear this perspective coming from law enforcement. I never would have thought many of them felt this way. I too have heard some stories regarding how these fees can add up quickly. Unfortunately I don't see anything changing soon, not with the proposal to end business taxes on property and the shift in how municipal aid is dealt with. sigh


Thu, Oct 6, 2011 : 10:11 a.m.

When is this State going to quit pushing people out of it - this is so absurd!