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Repeal Of Driver Responsibility Act Could Restore Licenses To More Than 1 Million Texas Drivers

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Texas' controversial Driver Responsibility Program may soon be rolled back, unless vetoed by Gov. Abbott. Opponents say the program traps low-income individuals in a cycle of poverty.

The DRP applies service fees and surcharges for various traffic offenses, from driving without a valid license or insurance to public safety-related citations like speeding and driving while intoxicated.

Those who are unable to pay surcharges from the program have their licenses automatically revoked. Having a suspended license makes it even harder to get to work and pay off surcharges.

Lawmakers have tried to eliminate the program in previous legislative sessions, which proved difficult because part of the fees assessed went to fund trauma care centers across the state. How does this newest legislation address this crucial funding issue?

If the Driver Responsibility Program is killed, how would the repeal affect Texas drivers and operations at the Department of Public Safety? What happens to a lawsuit over the program's constitutionality?

Will a DRP repeal provide real relief for low-income Texans faced with traffic fines? What would a more equitable program for traffic offenses look like?

Guests:

 
"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet at @TPRSource. 

 

*This interview was recorded on Thursday, June 6. 

Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.