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Personal Narrative: Garciela Rodriguez

Related litigation: Rodriguez v. Mach

Graciela Rodriguez is a 76-year-old caregiver who takes three different buses for five hours to get to work each day. She receives Supplemental Security Income. Her license was suspended because of unpaid Driver’s Responsibility Program (DRP) surcharges.

In 2010, after leaving flowers at the cemetery, her car was hit by a truck, and she received a citation for driving without insurance. Ms. Rodriguez struggled to pay the resulting $400 fee and the $100 reinstatement fee. She was not aware of the additional automatic surcharges with the DRP until 2017 when she went to renew her license. She never received a pre-suspension notice nor was she offered an ability to pay hearing. Ms. Rodriguez owes approximately $600 in surcharges. She pays $13.13 a month through an automated phone line but has defaulted many times because she simply cannot afford to pay.

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