Secretary of State Ruth Johnson promotes new option to waive Driver Responsibility Fees through community service. Nonprofits and those who serve them will also benefit.
DETROIT ‒ About 168,000 people could perform community service instead of paying hundreds of dollars for some Driver Responsibility Fees, a move that benefits both drivers and the agencies that serve Michigan communities around the state, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said recently at the North American International Auto Show.
“Traffic ticket fees, court costs and higher insurance premiums are difficult enough,” Johnson added. “With this new program, motorists can meet their legal obligations while minimizing any added financial burden to their families and while also helping people in their community.”
Johnson voted against the fees as a state representative and has supported eliminating them, calling them a burden. The new program gives motorists an opportunity to eliminate their Driver Responsibility Fees by completing 10 hours of volunteer work for each qualifying assessment on their driving record. The Michigan Department of Treasury mailed a letter with additional information to those who are eligible; more details are also available at http://www.michigan.gov/driverresponsibility.
Sam Slaughter, Detroit Auto Dealers Association president; Lisa Machesky, Lighthouse of Oakland County Chief Executive Officer; and Louis D. Piszker, chief executive officer for the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency joined Johnson at the auto show announcement.
“We know that lack of transportation is a significant barrier to long-term self-sufficiency and financial stability in our community,” Piszker said. “This service program aligns with our mission to empower people. It puts the onus on the individual to take the initiative, fulfill their obligations and move forward on a positive path.”
The Driver Responsibility Fee-Community Service program began Jan.1 and will end on Dec. 31. Eligible candidates must submit an application to the treasury department specifying which qualifying assessments they would like waived and what type of community service they will perform. Once their applications are approved, they will have 45 days to complete their volunteer work. Those with several qualifying assessments may request a deferral for some of them and, if approved, complete the remainder at a later date during the year.
Eligible individuals must volunteer to work for someone other than a family member without receiving any compensation. Volunteer opportunities can include local nonprofits (organizations classified as a 501c(3)), places of worship, schools, or city and state agencies.
The Driver Responsibility Fees that can be erased by community service are for No Proof of Insurance, No Insurance, Driving Without Proper License/Endorsement/Vehicle Group Designator, Driving While License Expired, and Driving While Unlicensed or License Not Valid.
Residents with questions about the program and the qualifications needed to apply can also call the Department of Treasury at 800-950-6227.