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Posted on Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 1 p.m.

Legislation eliminating Michigan's onerous 'driver responsibility fees' headed to Snyder's desk

By Ryan J. Stanton

Legislation to eliminate some of Michigan's onerous driver responsibility fees is on its way to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk to be signed into law.

The Michigan Senate today concurred in a 37-0 vote with the House version of Senate Bill 166, which removes some double fees levied against drivers for various minor offenses.

The legislation had broad bipartisan support. A total of 36 of Michigan's 38 state senators signed on as sponsors of SB 166, including Majority Leader Randy Richardville, Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, and Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor.


Rebekah Warren

"This bill is a long overdue fix," Warren said today after the Senate vote. "It eliminates the onerous driver responsibility fee for drivers who have lesser violations like driving on an expired license or failing to produce a proof of insurance, while still keeping it in place for more serious crimes like vehicular manslaughter or driving under the influence."

Currently, drivers with a number of violations can be charged extra fees by the state, often referred to as "driver responsibility fees." The extra fees are assessed on top of the existing fine schedule, effectively penalizing drivers twice for the same offense.

Warren said she hasn't heard anything indicating Snyder's position on the bill, though she and others are assuming he'll sign it. A spokesperson for the governor could not immediately be reached for comment this afternoon.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.


Jason Marovich

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 8:05 p.m.

Many people refused to pay these fees. Will they be exempt now if the law is repealed? For example, if a person is convicted, jailed, and fined by a judge and then serves a jail sentence and paid their fines, would they still be subject to double jeopardy by the State of Michigan? Refunds for those that paid should be a given. I sincerely hope Michigan is done with the racketeering business and plans to make it right with the people they hit with their mob-style vig.

Superior Twp voter

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 6:22 p.m.

Thank heaven, but let's just get 'er done and eliminate this entire "law." Double jeopardy all the way - flies in the face of modern jurisprudence. Do away with it entirely.

Steve Pierce

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 5:52 p.m.

So what is the state going to do to make up the shortfall to local communities. most of that money went to local communities to pay for police, fire and mowing parks. I agree, I hated this double penalty, it should have never been approved, but once again, Lansing is reducing the amount of money coming to local communities to try and keep their doors open. In Ypsi alone it was several hundred thousand a year. - Steve


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 1:46 p.m.

Why I'd like to know is if we are getting refunds from the state (which I doubt) or, if we are paying one off now, when can we stop sending payment?


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 3:18 a.m.

How did this law get on the books in the first place?


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 1:45 p.m.

Republicans. Though, Granholm did sign it.

ron sturdevan

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 12:35 a.m.

double jeopardy is illegal and that is exactly what this piece of legislation is and it is about time it gets thrown out. from 2004 to 2008 i paid $6000 in driver responsibility fees. $2000 of which was for no rpoof of insurance. if it is deemed unfair to penalize me not only twice, but 3 times as i had to pay $1000 a year for 2 years, is it not unfair to not refund my money unfairly extorted from me?

Grand Marquis de Sade

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 11:08 p.m.

If the Driver Responsibility Fee is truly onerous (which it most definitely is) it should be eliminated entirely and not just for certain offenses.

Gespenst Schriftsteller

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 9:52 p.m.

So since this is double jeopardy, is the state handing out refunds for those who got these fees?

Gespenst Schriftsteller

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 11:54 p.m.

It is double jeopardy though, think about it, the court gives you your fine, say for no insurance 155 bucs, that goes to the court, the state, and misc other places. Then the state fines you for the same charge again after you have already been sentenced by the court. If you want to say its not double jeopardy fine, but if not then you are tried and convicted by something other than the judicial branch as its not a fine from the judicial branch. Plus if you are sentenced to a fine and jail thats the courts doing that, if you are given a fine by the court then you should be done, but thats not the case then the state gives you another fine on top of that.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 10:11 p.m.

Double penalties do not equate to double jeopardy. In fact there are many times you have double penalties in a court situation. If you are arrested for a DUI, you pay your fines, BUT if your sentence includes jail time, you will have to pay for the time you spent in jail. The concept is the same. It is the fact that many offenses that were considered minor (like not PROVING insurance) were hit with the "fee" even if you had insurance, but just could not produce the document.

David Cahill

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 9:47 p.m.

Good! This legislation is long overdue.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

or don't drive like a butt head and you won't have to worry about it.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 1:44 p.m.

Let's penalize people three times then... Or better yet, if you happen to forget your proof of insurance that day at home, why don't we just let the state confiscate your vehicle and suspend your license and then charge you a couple thousand dollars over two years. That seems fair.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

Why is it OK for anyone to be penalized twice for any offense? More of the new meaning of justice in this land or just money grabbing by those in power?