Each state operates under its own set of laws regarding drivers. Texas keeps up with driver’s records and instills safe driving habits through means of the Driver Responsibility Program, or the Points System. Here is an explanation of the system, how it works, and the effect it has on drivers in Texas.
What is the Driver Responsibility Program?
When a driver receives a citation in Texas, they also receive points on their driving record. Another name for this program is the Points System. Points accumulate for each citation a driver receives. They also receive points if they are the cause of an accident. Different citations receive different points. The severity of an accident determines points for that accident.
What are some reasons for the program?
With technology becoming as large as it has, distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of accidents in Texas. When we drive, we count on ourselves and other drivers to keep us safe. The other drivers have an obligation to drive safely for everyone on the road. When they are distracted by items like cell phones, they cause accidents.
Accidents from distracted driving can lead to a number of injuries. Some of these include:
- Spinal injuries
- Broken bones
- Brain trauma
- Disability or death
How many points are added to the driving record?
If you have a moving violation, you receive two points or three points for a violation resulting in a collision. These convictions remain on the driving record for three years and can affect things like insurance rates.
If you have too many points, your license can be suspended. If you have four or more moving violations in a year, your license can also be suspended. If you have seven or more in two years, you can face the same result. There are other situations that can cause a license suspension like underage drinking, DWI, or driving without insurance.
What are surcharges?
A surcharge is an extra fine you must pay besides the court fees and regular fines. These are re-determined each year. In Texas, you will pay surcharges for things like having six or more points on your record or having a DWI violation. The amount you pay depends on the seriousness of the charge. If you do not pay your surcharges within 105 days, your license will be suspended and will remain so until payment arrangements are made or the surcharges are paid in full. These surcharges are forwarded to the Texas Controller of Public Accounts who allots 99 percent to the trauma center and the Texas General Revenue Fund. The other one percent goes to the Department of Public Safety.
There are two programs that help with surcharges. One is the Indigency Program and the other is the Incentive Program. The Indigency Program waives surcharges if the amount of their income is at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. The Incentive Program lowers the amount of surcharges for people who have incomes in between 125 percent and 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
If you find yourself in this position, it is important to understand the laws and know what you may be facing. An experienced attorney understands Texas law and can help. You may be eligible to take a Texas Defensive Driving Course and have the charges dismissed. Give us a call today and let’s get started on getting your life back together.