Four Misconceptions about the Texas Driver Responsibility Program (DRP)
1. The DRP makes Texas safer
One of the program’s original intentions was to deter drunk driving, but it hasn’t actually made any empirical progress on that front. In fact, according to Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, there is no evidence whatsoever that suggests that the program increases public safety. Statistically the DRP has had no noticeable impact at all. Actually, traffic fatalities involving alcohol in Texas have increased by 7% since the program’s implementation in 2003.
2. Texas needs the DRP financially
Considering the familial and overall social ramifications, the DPR’s damaging effect on the Texas economy is clear. Exorbitant surcharges come as a devastating blow to low-income Texas families. Many lose their jobs after having their licenses revoked and then are unable to find new places of employment without a valid license.
Moreover, many cannot then afford their increased insurance payments. In turn, some continue to drive without a license or insurance leaving the tax payers to foot the bill when incidents arise – a bill that comes to about $300 million a year.
3. The DRP doesn’t affect you
Even if lady luck happens to be on your side with regard to traffic citations, the DPR can still be detrimental to you and your family. Approximately 1.3 million Texas drivers currently have invalid licenses because of overdue surcharges. Thus, 1.3 million Texas drivers would not meet the minimum requirement to purchase and retain automotive insurance.
Within the context of the limited public transportation infrastructure in Texas, many of those drivers have little option but to continue to drive. Given the national $18,748 average cost per accident, it is estimated that Texans are covering up to $300 million annually in uncovered damages caused by uninsured motorists.
4. There’s nothing you can do to fix this failed program
This is unfortunately the biggest misconception of all. There are already some passionate individuals leading the charge to repeal the DRP but your help is needed! Please reach out to TCJC or contact your Texas elected officials. Together we can show them that enough is enough and make Texas a better state for it.
[i] “Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force Final Report,” Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (Rutgers University) and New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, February 2006. Online at: http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/pdf/About/AFTF_final_02.pdf.
[ii] According to data from the Texas Dept. of Public Safety, as of August 31, 2011, 83% of the surcharges levied in Texas had been assessed for three violations: FMFR, No License, and DWLI. According to the New Jersey study cited, a disproportionate share of individuals whose licenses are suspended for these three offenses make less than $28,000 per year.
[iii] “2010 Motor Vehicle Safety: Overview – Highlights,” NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts, prepared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, February 2012. Online at: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811552.pdf
[iv] “Highway Statistics Series: Licensed Total Drivers, by Age – 2010,” prepared by the Federal Highway Administration, September 2011. Online at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2010/dl22.cfm
[v] “The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes 2000,” prepared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2002. Online at: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/809446.PDF
[vi] “Designated Trauma Facility and Emergency Medical Service Account: FY05-FY12 Disbursements,” prepared by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Data available upon request.