Now that a computer problem has been fixed, nearly 200,000 notices are being sent at a rate of 5,000 a day to Texas violators who face a surcharge on their traffic fines, the Houston Chronicle reports. Failure to pay will result in the loss of the driver’s license. The surcharges – totaling $67 million – are aimed at Texans who drive without a license or insurance or while drunk. The law is expected to raise about $1 billion for trauma care over the first five years and another $1 billion for highways and general revenue funds. A person fined for driving without a license must pay an extra $100 a year for three years. Driving without insurance or with a license that’s been revoked will add a surcharge of $250 a year for three years.
The get-tough surcharges are patterned after a New Jersey program, in effect for more than 15 years, that has dramatically changed driver behavior. One Texas legislator said New Jersey had reported a 24 percent reduction in highway fatalities after the program started. Texas has the highest number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the United States.