The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Michigan drivers responsibility fees to be eliminited


February 15, 2018

Ian Minielly/Daily Globe

SCOTT DIANDA, Democrat from Calumet in Contrast Coffee Mar. 31, 2017, discussed health care costs with John and Mary Turkal of Bessemer. Later during a question and answer session, Dianda said he would like to see additional fees leveled on Michigan drivers by the Department of the Treasury removed as they needlessly punish Michigan's drivers.

LANSING - Secretary of State Ruth Johnson made the following statement regarding the announced deal to eliminate Driver Responsibility Fees: 

"This announced deal to address and fully eliminate Driver Responsibility Fees is great news for Michigan motorists. The automatic fees collected by the Department of Treasury were a terrible mistake during the dark days of Michigan's lost decade. They're a double-penalty that hit hard-working Michigan families and unlike the underlying traffic ticket, judges couldn't review or offer alternate ways of taking care of the added fee.

"The fact that we're eliminating these fees shows how much Michigan has come back over the past seven years. I'm thankful that the Legislature and the governor are moving swiftly to close this painful chapter in our history. The fees had nothing to do with traffic safety, never should have been adopted and are now finally on the way out."

Scott Dianda (D – Calumet) when reached by the Globe Wednesday added, "We voted today to eliminate all these driver fees in place since 2003. That's why we are down here, to get rid of a lot of these extra fees that hit peoples checkbook and they are stuck paying."

This harkened back to a sunny Mar. 31, 2017 day when Dianda responded to a constituent question in Contrast Coffee that one of the things he wanted to get done was remove these same driver fees that were hurting drivers and could not be reviewed by judges.

As a state representative in 2003, Johnson voted against Driver Responsibility Fees. As secretary of state, she has pushed for repealing the Driver Responsibility Fee law, successfully advocating that lawmakers eliminate the most common fees in 2011, create a community service option for certain fees in 2015 and begin phasing out all fees.

Driver Responsibility Fees are an additional fee automatically charged for various traffic violations, including non-moving violations, on top of regular traffic citation fines and court costs. Unlike traditional court fines and fees in which a judge can take into consideration a driver's ability to pay and order alternatives, such as payment plans or community service in lieu of payment, the automatically assessed Driver Responsibility Fees cannot be waived or reduced by a judge.

-Ian Minielly


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