1/ Here’s how it happens.
You get pulled over for speeding. You get a ticket. You can’t afford to pay. Your license is suspended.
You get pulled over again. For driving without a license, you owe more.
It keeps happening. Eventually, you go to jail.
2/ You owe more fees for driving without a license. Your surcharges add up. You still can’t afford to pay. You still can’t afford to not drive.
You keep driving. You keep ending up in jail.
You now owe thousands of dollars.
3/ This is the Driver Responsibility Program.
As of January 2018, there were approximately 1.4 million records of people ineligible to obtain their licenses under this program. trib.it/lp
4/ The Driver Responsibility Program came about as #txlege was searching for a way to fund the state’s emergency trauma care system.
The idea was simple: hold bad drivers responsible and keep them off the road by suspending their licenses. trib.it/lp
5/ In a sense, it’s worked. About 75 percent of the state now has immediate access to a trauma care facility.
But the majority of unpaid surcharge cases are people with non-public safety related offenses.
Like driving without a valid license. trib.it/lp
6/ And so, the Driver Responsibility Program has resulted in a deepening cycle of debt for those who cannot afford to pay. trib.it/lp
7/ You get a ticket. You can’t pay it.
You have to keep working to pay it off. But you lose your license. So, you drive to work without a license. You get pulled over. Now, you owe more.
You keep driving. You go to jail. You owe more.
8/ Both Republicans and Democrats say the program is deeply flawed and unfairly penalizes the most vulnerable members of society. trib.it/lp
9/ But attempts at eliminating the program have consistently failed.
The biggest obstacle has been finding the money to replace the roughly $144 million the program brings to the state. trib.it/lp
10/10 In the meantime, the cycle of debt for those who cannot afford to pay can deepen.
Read more here. trib.it/lp