Total repeal is the best solution for driver responsibility fees
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