On November 18, 2004, then-Governor George Pataki authorized a new fee called the Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee (DRAF). As you will see below, the “fee” is more like a tax on drivers.
The DRAF is imposed upon motorists who accumulate 6 or more points in New York State (and Ontario and Quebec provinces). The fee is in addition to any fine, surcharge, suspension or other penalty imposed by the court, and is billed separately roughly 30 days later by the DMV. The DRAF is imposed upon ALL motorists, even ones from other states, as follows:
6 points = $300
7 points = $375
8 points = $450
9 points = $525
10 points = $600
11 points = $675
12 points = $725
13 points = $800
14 points = $875
For each point in excess of 14, add an additional $75. The DRAF can be paid in one installment or in three equal installments over 3 years.
For motorists who are convicted of a traffic violation that is alcohol-related, drug-related or involves the refusal to take a chemical test, the DRAF is $750.
The biggest issue that arises with the DRAF involves its payment. Many motorists (especially ones with out-of-date addresses with DMV) fail to timely pay the fee and wind up getting suspended. Often they first learn about the unpaid DRAF when they’re pulled over by a police officer. But, by then, they have a more serious issue – defending an additional charge of aggravated unlicensed (misdemeanor). Paying the DRAF is pretty easy as it can be done online at the DMV’s website.
We are regularly asked about the affect of the Driver Safety Program on the DRAF. While the Driver Safety Class removes 4 points from a motorist’s New York record, it will NOT help him or her avoid the DRAF. In order words, the class removes 4 points for purposes of possibly being suspended but not for purposes of whether you owe New York State money. Clearly, then, the goal of driver responsibility is secondary to its fiscal benefits.