Drivers Responsibility Assessment Fee

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On November 18, 2004, Governor George Pataki introduced the Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee (DRAF). While termed a “fee”, it closely resembles a tax for drivers.

Drivers who amass 6 or more points in New York State, as well as in Ontario and Quebec provinces, are liable for the DRAF. This fee comes on top of any fines, surcharges, or other court-imposed penalties and will be separately billed by the DMV about a month later. The DRAF applies to all drivers, including those from outside New York, as detailed below:

6 points = $300

7 points = $375 … up to

14 points = $875

For every point over 14, there’s an added fee of $75. Payment options for the DRAF include a single lump sum or three yearly equal payments.

Drivers convicted of infractions linked to alcohol, drugs, or refusal of a chemical test are charged a DRAF of $750.

One of the primary challenges with the DRAF is its timely payment. A significant number of drivers, especially those with outdated DMV addresses, overlook this payment and face license suspensions. Many are only made aware of their unpaid DRAF when stopped by law enforcement, which then adds the concern of an “aggravated unlicensed” misdemeanor charge. However, settling the DRAF is straightforward and can be completed on the DMV website.

A recurring query is the impact of the Driver Safety Program on the DRAF. While this program deducts 4 points from a driver’s New York record, it doesn’t provide relief from the DRAF. In essence, the program might prevent a suspension but doesn’t negate the financial obligation to the state. Evidently, the emphasis on driver responsibility takes a backseat to the revenue it generates.

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