LANSING — State Rep. Phil Phelps (D-Flushing) introduced House Bill 5045 today as part of a bipartisan bill package that will eliminate driver responsibility fees. This bill package comes in the wake of recent efforts to reform auto insurance in Michigan.
“Hundreds of thousands of Michigan drivers are being financially bogged down thanks to the vicious cycle of driver responsibility fees,” Phelps said. “Amid increasing demands for us to revamp our state’s insurance system, it only seems right that we also address this law that has collected millions of dollars in fees, mostly from drivers who are unable to pay them, and now can no longer legally drive as a result.”
Currently, drivers who are charged with driver responsibility fees may have their driver’s license confiscated until the fees are paid. HB 5045 would allow drivers with outstanding fees to have their licenses returned to them. Recent state data shows 317,048 drivers across the state owe nearly $594.8 million in driver responsibility fees. The average fee owed by a driver in Detroit, where drivers already pay the highest auto insurance rates in the nation, is $1,623.1
“More often than not, we are seeing that these fees are simply too high for the average driver to afford, which sends them down a slippery slope toward losing their license and being unable to drive to work legally,” Phelps said. “These fees have a disproportionate impact on low-income drivers. It is long past time that we as lawmakers act to provide relief to these drivers who deserve a clean slate.”