Texas DRP: Driver Surcharge Brings Financial Chaos to Texans
The following article can be found at the Dallas Morning News.
Meet Devin Mitchell, wanted woman.
“I feel like a criminal, and I’m not a criminal,” she insists. “It’s so infuriating to me.”
The 28-year-old Cleburne mother fears leaving her house because she could end up in jail.
“All I ever wanted to do was work and take care of my own,” she said. “But this keeps me from being a viable member of society.”
Devin’s crime? She drove her deceased sister’s car, not knowing it wasn’t insured.
That was 10 years ago, and the repercussions of that small transgression continue to plague her. “This has absolutely ruined my life,” she said.
Devin quickly paid the ticket. But she heard nothing about the Texas Driver Responsibility Program.
That’s the state’s plan for supposedly making us better drivers. But it’s really about raising money for the state in a politically easy way.
Devin didn’t know that she not only had to pay her ticket but also owed the state a $250 surcharge every year for the following three years.
“No one said a word to me about it,” she said.
Her first inkling of a problem was when her boss at Pizza Hut informed her that her driver’s license was suspended. She worked as a delivery driver, so the company monitored her driving status.
Devin had to switch to an inside job at the restaurant, giving up lots of tip money. And she set about making monthly payments toward the surcharges.
But she still had to drive to work with a suspended license. And soon she received a ticket for that. And that started a whole new round of surcharges.
“It’s not like I had a choice. I had to work. And I had to drive to get there,” she said….