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Posted on Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 10 a.m.

Total repeal is the best solution for driver responsibility fees

By Letters to the Editor

Thanks for the editorial of Oct. 16 agreeing that the Driver Responsibility Act is bad legislation. I believe total repeal with HB4816 is the better option. A Senate Fiscal Agency analysis in 2006 showed the serious violations were up, not down, with the DRA. The law never accomplished what the original supporters promised, as knowledgeable people knew in advance that it wouldn’t.

I spoke for the National Motorists Association in favor of the token partial repeal at the hearing for SB166, because it would at least start the process of repealing this monstrosity. The NMA spoke in opposition to the DRA at the original hearings in 2003 and in three other hearings since that time. This was never a safety law; it always was a money grab law. Most judges hate the DRA because they have no options to impose other penalties on someone who has zero chance to ever pay the huge fines. Many judges refuse to take guilty pleas from people they know can never pay the DRA fines — they plead them to something else. One judge at a hearing in 2006 called the DRA a “debtor’s prison.” Many police officers refuse to issue citations for common offenses when they would put the person deeper in the financial hole. Several legislators who originally supported the law have publicly “apologized for what the Legislature has done.” Call your representatives and senators in Lansing and tell them you prefer total repeal with HB4816, but to at least take this token first step to get rid of about 10 percent of the law with SB166. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, Ann Arbor


Jim Walker

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

For Mike I would rather not fire more police, I just want to get the posted speed limits and all other traffic laws set to maximize safety. Then any enforcement will be safety-related, NOT revenue related. Most posted speed limits should be set at the 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under good conditions, the method that usually results in the smoothest traffic flow and the fewest accidents. Ann Arbor does NOT use this safety-maximizing method and prefers to set posted limits at or below the 30th percentile speeds of traffic. This defines 70+% of all drivers as violators, a premise that is nonsense. We do NOT have 70+% of the drivers acting dangerously that should be at risk to get tickets. If Ann Arbor would bring its posted limits in line with state law and the standard and accepted engineering practices used by MDOT and the Michigan State Police, traffic flow in our city would be smoother and safer. AND any speeding tickets would then be directed only against the top few percent of drivers, the ones whose speeds are far enough above the pattern to cause safety problems. James C. Walker, NMA


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:41 a.m.

Let's repeal this law and save money instead by firing more police. The public is not served by semi-repressed violent under-achieving skin heads with radar guns taking money from motorists for the simple fact of being isolated in traffic. It raises insurance fees for all of us. And, it endangers us all. Fire more police until speeding tickets is deprioritized.

Don B. Arfkahk

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:44 p.m.

It should be a $10,000 crime to protest outside a bank.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:15 p.m.

Don't do the crime if you can't pay the fine.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 6:27 p.m.

Oh for pete's sake; Quite Whining, Drive drunk, continue to be a scofflaw and get multiple arrests but we don't want to jail you? PAY UP. This is an excellent law! It has reduced drunk driving & deaths in Michigan. People are scared of it as they should be and think a whole lot more about driving under the influence. We are safer because of it. Those who break the law should pay, it's as simple as that. These apologist for people who repeatedly break the law and put us at risk maybe would change their tune had they been injured by one of the people they are defending! If there are Judges who won't enforce the laws that they took an oath to uphold; they should be removed from the bench. Why should we pay for them not to do their jobs? The same for Police officers! I'm tired of people repeatedly breaking the law and being given no consequences. You don't go to jail in Michigan until you have THREE convictions! Anyone ever arrested and sentenced will readily admit had they been jailed for a week or two the first time, they would not have ever risked it again! This law acts the same way; it hurts! It is supposed to! Don't do it again. Learn your lesson & change your behavior. Chronic Alcohol addicts & Alcoholics are not affected by this law or any other which is why we need the high BAC law to identify them. A separate issue & now dealt with by specialized courts.

Jim Walker

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

An analysis by the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency in 2006 showed that many serious category offenses were UP since the imposition of the Driver Responsibility Act. It has not accomplished anything except the collection of about half the assessed fees. It needs to be repealed, because it does NOT work. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association.

Kara H

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:41 a.m.

This is not primarily a drunk driving law & scoops up nearly every other traffic infraction in it's net. If an offense is $50, $1000 or $1000 bad, that should be the fee, not this ongoing set of hidden fees.

Basic Bob

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

Thanks to term limits, these clowns are already gone, or nearly so. Every term we get a fresh bunch of clowns with no experience who falsely believe that their predecessors knew what they were doing. It is in our best interest to provide a way out of the revolving door of crime and punishment, but it doesn't win any votes. (Insert negative Ypsilanti crime comments below)

Matt Cooper

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 5:32 p.m.

Why? So we can be stuck with the same bunch of clowns indefinately. No thanks. At least with term limits we, as voters, have some sort of opportunity to right the wrongs perpetrated by the current set of clowns by voting in a whole new set of clowns.

hut hut

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 3:01 p.m.

"Every term we get a fresh bunch of clowns with no experience" This is why term limits are a bad idea.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 2:25 p.m.

Just one more atrocity of legislation from the group of clowns in Lansing these days. Amateur hour - with our money. It's probably better that they waste their time on worthless stuff like banning 'sharia law' and drivel like that than actually screw things up like this. Time to vote this group out; they've demonstrated their incompetence too many times already.