FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2019
DALLAS - So you've been hoping and praying that you won't get stopped by law enforcement since you've been driving around for months, maybe even a year, on a suspended license. At least I hope that you have already paid your speeding ticket. If you have, this could be your lucky day! That's because the Driver Responsibility Program - the surcharge program as it's also called - is no more. As of September 1, it's gone!
During this year's session of the Texas Legislature, HB2048 was overwhelmingly approved and has now passed into law. With it came the repeal and end of the surcharge program. The intended goal of the Driver Responsibility Program (DRP) was to create additional funding for hospitals that provide emergency/trauma care. For the past five years, the DRP has made available more than $70 million annually to hospitals towards trauma care costs, but the pain that it inflicted on lower-income drivers could also be called severe. Drivers who failed to pay an annual fee for each of three years, which was charged in addition to the cost of the traffic violation, were faced with license suspension, more fines and the possibility of jail.
Here's the good news. Under HB2048, all surcharges owed are no more. If you were on a payment plan related to the surcharges, it too is done. If your drivers' license was suspended as a result of not paying the surcharges, you are now eligible to have your license reinstated. However this only applies to license suspensions and monies owed connected to non-compliance with the DRP. If your original traffic citation has not been paid, it is still owed. And any suspensions or warrants related to non-payment of the original traffic violation or for failure to appear in court for the citation will still be in effect and enforced. Those were the rules and the law long before the Driver Responsibility Program was ever implemented.
So if this applies to you, contact the Texas Department of Public Safety as soon as possible to determine the status of your drivers' license. This link may assist you; DRPRepeal@dps.texas.gov. Now go and get your license reinstated. It still against the law to drive without it!