And how much are those surcharges? Almost $2 billion according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
All these surcharges stem from the Texas Driver Responsibility Program which was created in 2003 to deter people from driving drunk, driving without insurance or driving without a driver’s license. The surcharges were additional fees assessed to those guilty of certain infractions. The idea was sound, but it has led to even worse problems including the 1.3 million Texas drivers without a legitimate driver’s license.
Now Texas state legislators are trying to figure out how to collect these late surcharges and how to get these unlicensed drivers off the roads. The problem is that for many of these drivers they are not paying the surcharges simply because they don’t have the money to pay them. You can’t get blood from a stone, after all, and when you need your car to get to work to pay the bills you can’t go without (food, rent, electric, water) you simply do what you have to do.