Charge a Fee to Reinstate Suspended Drivers Licenses

The Department of Public Safety should charge a fee to reinstate all suspended drivers licenses.


Background
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has the statutory authority to suspend drivers licenses for certain traffic violations.

Some of these suspensions are mandatory. These generally involve serious traffic violations, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, negligent homicide or aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, any offense punishable as a felony under th e state s motor vehicle laws, failure to stop and render aid, felony drug offenses and other felony offenses under the Controlled Substances Act. 1 Mandatory suspensions are invoked automatically upon final conviction.

Departmental suspensions are determined through an administrative hearing held before a local judge or justice of the peace, as required by statute. Departmental suspensions are invoked for offenses such as driving with a suspended license, habitual reckle ssness or negligence, habitual violations of traffic laws, demonstrated incapacity to operate a motor vehicle safely, responsibility as a driver for any accident involving serious injury or death and unlawful or fraudulent use of a driver s license. 2

Forty-two states, including seven of the ten most populous, have the authority to charge fees for reinstating a license after a departmental suspension, but under current law DPS may levy a fee of $50 only for reinstatement after a mandatory suspension. 3

Fee for Reinstatement after
State Departmental Suspensions

Arizona $50
California $20
Illinois $30
Maryland $85
Massachusetts $50
Minnesota $20-200
New Jersey $30
New Mexico $25
New York $50
Oklahoma $75

According to DPS, in fiscal 1992, the agency completed 42,035 license reinstatements in which no fee was assessed.


Recommendation
The Legislature should authorize the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to charge a fee of $50 for reinstating any suspended drivers licenses.

Since the administrative work involved in processing and reinstating drivers licenses is essentially the same for both types of suspensions, the agency should collect the same fee to recover its administrative costs. This fee should be deposited to the General Revenue Fund.


Fiscal Impact
As stated above, in fiscal 1992, no fee was levied in 42,035 reinstatements. If DPS had collected this fee for all suspensions in fiscal 1992, the agency would have collected an additional $1.7 million. 4

Fiscal Gain to the Change in
Year General Revenue Fund 001 FTEs

1994 $1,700,000 0
1995 1,700,000 0
1996 1,700,000 0
1997 1,700,000 0
1998 1,700,000 0



Endnotes
1 Vernon s Ann. Civ. Stat. art. 6687b.
2 Ibid.
3 Texas Sunset Advisory Commission Staff Evaluation, Department of Public Safety (Austin, Texas, April 1992), p. 43.
4 An allowance has been made for potential non-compliance.