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Repeal of the Driver Responsibility Program: Frequently Asked Questions

Occupational Driver’s License

The Texas legislature passed a bill to repeal the Driver Responsibility Program in 2019.

The Texas legislature passed a bill to repeal the Driver Responsibility Program in 2019 (H.B. 2048), which was signed into law by the governor that June. The bill went into effect on September 1, 2019. This document is intended to answer common questions about how the repeal works.

I heard the Driver Responsibility Program (“DRP”) was repealed. What does this mean?

In 2019, Texas ended the DRP entirely. This included all past, present, and future surcharges. Texans no longer owed any surcharges after September 1, 2019, and there were no new surcharges after that date.

When the DRP ended, the Texas Department of Public Safety lifted approximately 1 million driver’s license suspensions. These were license suspensions based solely on the DRP surcharges, with no other underlying suspensions. 

After DRP surcharges ended, an estimated 500,000 driver’s licenses remained suspended due to other non-DRP enforcement actions. Certain criminal convictions, entry into the Failure to Appear/Pay database, and other DPS enforcement actions can still result in driver's license suspension.

I've already paid my surcharges. Will I get a refund?

No. Although all unpaid DRP surcharges were dropped on September 1, 2019, you cannot recover any surcharges you already paid.

I owe surcharges right now. Should I pay them?

Texas canceled all DRP surcharges on September 1, 2019. You no longer owe any DRP surcharges.

My driver's license is suspended because I owed surcharge debt. What steps do I need to take to get my license back?

That depends on a number of things including how long your license has been suspended, whether you owe reinstatement fees, and whether you have other suspensions or holds.

If unpaid DRP surcharges are the only reason for your suspension and you owe no reinstatement fees for other suspensions, your license should have been automatically reinstated on September 1, 2019. To check if you have other suspensions or owe reinstatement fees, go to Texas DPS and search by your driver’s license number and date of birth. If your license is suspended under other programs in addition to the DRP, you will need to satisfy the requirements of those programs before you obtain a valid license.

Even if you have no other suspensions or reinstatement fees, you may need to renew or obtain a copy of your driver’s license. For example, if you need a duplicate copy of your license because it has been taken away, you will need to order one through DPS for $11. If your license has expired during the suspension period, you will need to renew it through DPS for $25. This can usually be done online at texas.gov.

Will I have to take a driving test with DPS?

If your driver’s license has been expired for more than two years, you will need to apply and re-test for a driver’s license. These tests include a written test, vision test, and driving test.

I'm currently on a payment plan for DRP surcharges. How does this affect me?

Monthly payments ended on September 1, 2019. If you missed a payment before then, your license would likely have been suspended in a matter of days. However, you did not owe and should not have made any payments related to DRP-surcharges after September 1, 2019.

I also have Omnibase holds due to unpaid tickets. How are those affected by this change in law?

In short, they are not affected. It was very common for a person to have both a suspension for not paying DRP surcharges and an OmniBase hold for not paying a fine at the same time. Only the DRP surcharges were affected by the change in law. The OmniBase holds are not affected.

To check to see if you have OmniBase holds, go to Texas DPS and search by your driver’s license number and date of birth. To lift an OmniBase hold, you will need to either pay the fine owed or work out an alternative way to resolve what you owe with the court. You may be able to arrange a monthly payment plan or community service. To ask for one of these options, contact the court that has placed the OmniBase hold directly.

I have an additional suspension for another reason. Will the new law impact that suspension too?

The new law only impacts suspensions for not paying DRP surcharges. You may have a suspension for other reasons, like a DWI charge, a drug possession conviction, driving with an invalid license, or driving without insurance. Those suspensions will remain in place. To see what types of suspensions or holds are preventing you from renewing your driver’s license, go to Texas DPS and search by your driver’s license number and date of birth.

Do I have to pay a reinstatement fee? What if I can't afford to pay a reinstatement fee?

Approximately 350,000 individuals whose driver’s licenses were suspended due to unpaid DRP surcharges still owed non-DRP reinstatement fees when the DRP ended. After paying that fee, these individuals’ licenses will be reinstated if they have no other suspensions.

Individuals can check if they have reinstatement fees by going to Texas DPS. You can pay the fees online or through the mail. Unfortunately, there is no program to reduce or waive reinstatement fees. If you have no other holds then upon paying the reinstatement fees are paid you will be able to request a copy of your driver’s license; renew your driver’s license; or, if your driver’s license has been expired for more than two years, apply and re-test for a driver’s license.

Where can I read the bill?

You can read the text of H.B. 2048 here. Click on the icon on the row marked 'Enrolled' to read the final version of the bill that was sent to the governor. The bill text will pop up in a new window or browser tab.

Where can I get more information or ask additional questions?

For specific information about your Texas driver’s license and how the DRP repeal impacts you, email the Texas Department of Public Safety at DRPRepeal@dps.texas.gov. This is a special email address that has been created to answer the public’s questions related to the DRP repeal. You can also call the DPS customer service line at (512) 424-2600, though there may be an extended wait time or the phone may disconnect your call.

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