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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Driver Responsibility Laws

Drivers in at least four states may find themselves paying more than just a traffic fine when they get a ticket. In an attempt to cut down on habitual traffic offenders and to raise more revenue for states, these states (Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Texas) have imposed a surcharge over and above the normal traffic fines and court fees that a motorist may have to pay as a result of getting a traffic ticket (also known as a Driver Responsibility Law). If the motorist has accumulated a set number of points over a designated period, the motorist is charged a surcharge that increases for every point over the limit and continues so long as the points remain on the driver's record.

All four states have similar laws with the exception of New York. Three of the states impose the surcharge over a one year period until the points have fallen below the pre-set level however New York imposes the surcharge for a three year period.

7 Points
As Soon As Points are Imposed
Interruption of driving privileges
New Jersey
6 Points
3 Years
Indefinite suspension of driving privileges, possible lien and or garnishment of wages.
New York
6 Points
18 Months
$100 Per Year for 3 Years
Suspension of driver's license
6 Points
3 Years
Suspension of driver's license

The typical time limit to pay the surcharge and avoid suspension of driving privileges is 30 days.

Each of these states also impose a heavier surcharge for more serious offenses such as DUI, refusal to submit to a breath test, and no proof of insurance. Typically the surcharges for a DUI are $1,000 or more per year.

To prevent accumulation of the minimum number of points, each of these states allow a driver to attend a driver improvement school however, once the minimum number of points have been reached, it is too late to try to reduce the points by taking a driver safety course and the surcharges will be imposed.

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