Drivers in Michigan no longer need to worry about receiving a hefty fine for not providing law enforcement officers a valid driver’s license or proof of insurance during traffic stops.
Earlier this month, Michigan’s Secretary of State eliminated some driver responsibility fees via Public Act 255 of 2011. This act eliminates a $150 fine for persons operating a motor vehicle with an expired operators or chauffer’s license, operating without a valid license, having more than one license and failing to surrender licenses from other states.
Drivers who have also accumulated at least seven points or more on their driving record will also be exempt from any driver responsibility fees that are assessed yearly by the Secretary of State, according to the new state law.
“These fees have been a costly burden on Michigan residents and I’m pleased to see some of them go,” Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said. “Citizens already have to pay court fines and usually see higher insurance rates for violations. These extra fees have made things tougher for many families.”
Also being eliminated is a $200 fine for failing to have motor vehicle insurance coverage, failing to produce proof of insurance and knowingly providing false evidence of insurance.
Drivers who received citations before Oct. 1 will still have to pay the driver responsibility fee for the mentioned violations.
However, fines for serious motor vehicle offenses such as alcohol-related, driving under the influence of or possession of a controlled substance and reckless driving violations will remain in place. Drivers will still be responsible for fees of $500 and $1,000 for related violations.
“Essentially these fines were so punitive on some people that could not pay the fines the civil infraction resulted in multiple suspensions on their license and a financial burden they could not get from under,” said Todd Noeske, patrol sergeant for Western Michigan University Department of Public Safety. “This results in misdemeanor driving offenses for driving on a suspended license and further responsibility fees.”
Students around WMU had a mixed reaction regarding the new law.
“This could be a good idea, because a speeding ticket alone could cost up to $400, said Dakia Tinsley, a freshman majoring in biomedical science.
“There should be some penalty for not showing your license,” said Michaela Hess, a junior majoring in psychology. “People will make the cops look up info which may not necessarily be a good thing.”