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Michigan Auto Law guest blogger: Secretary of State candidate Jocelyn Benson

September 2, 2010 by Steven M. Gursten

Benson announces plan to eliminate the driver responsibility fee and discusses how it’s unfair to Michigan drivers

The scope of my blog is on news, tips and help for auto accident victims and drivers in Michigan. Today, I’ve invited Jocelyn Benson, the Democratic candidate running for Michigan Secretary of State to guest blog about an important idea for Michigan drivers. Professor Benson is an attorney who lives in Detroit. She has been an advocate for efficient and transparent government.

Jocelyn Benson is currently a law professor at Wayne State University Law School (where I taught an advocacy class this year with Court of Appeals Judge Elizabeth Gleicher, and where I will be speaking later this month on personal injury and auto accident law to the law students). I think Professor Benson has some exciting ideas on improving service for Michigan drivers, protecting pocketbooks, and making sure that elected officials work for citizens – not corporate and special interests.

Recently, she announced her plan to eliminate the driver responsibility fee that’s currently imposed by the Michigan Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is primarily responsible for collecting the fee, which has been widely criticized by judges, legislators and taxpayers.

Jocelyn wants people to know the driver responsibility fee is discriminatory and oppressive, and it has harmed residents throughout our state. She was quoted saying, “From Cheboygan, to Charlevoix, to Muskegon to Detroit, I’ve heard painful stories of residents losing their jobs as a result of this fee.”

The driver responsibility fee was instituted in 2004 to encourage drivers to operate more responsibly and help eradicate the state’s budget deficit. But instead, since passage of the fee, the number of drivers with suspended licenses has increased more than 40 percent and there has been a 26 percent increase in the number of people fleeing the scene of car accidents in Michigan. The numbers of hit and runs and people fleeing serious car accidents without insurance is even higher in larger metro areas like Detroit and Flint.

Jocelyn said this legislation has not accomplished its goals and must be replaced with more effective solutions for protecting the safety of our roads and drivers; such as possibly requiring bad drivers to attend classes to improve their habits. As a safety advocate, I think this is one of the most important ideas I’ve come across to reduce the numbers of auto accidents in this state.

Steve Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top personal injury lawyers in serious car and truck accident injury cases and auto insurance No-Fault litigation. Michigan Auto Law has received the largest reported jury verdict for a car accident case in Michigan in six of the past nine years, including 2009, according to published reports.

Related information:

Auto accident checklist: Before a car accident

17 mistakes that can kill your car accident case

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling auto accident cases and No-Fault insurance law throughout the entire state. We have helped countless personal injury victims recover all of the No-Fault insurance benefits they’re entitled to, and we can do the same for you. Call (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with an insurance lawyer.

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