Costs of Getting Back on the Road

Nearly two years after being stopped for my first DUI, I’m anxiously awaiting the eligibility date for the restoration of my driving privileges and I’m still paying, literally and figuratively, for my poor decision making.

In March, I wrote about my experience, specifically the overall cost of my two DUIs.  When I added it all up, the estimated total was $10,066.00, without counting the cost of ignition interlock, increased insurance costs or lost wages.

I still can’t account for increased insurance or lost wages, mostly because I hate math but also because I think I’d cry at the actual amount, especially considering I am still unemployed.  I can, however, update the total with the expected cost of getting my license reinstated.

I recently received the Restoration Requirements Letter from PennDot, which told me what I have to do, as well as how much I have to pay to get my driving privileges back.

First, I had to send a $25 restoration fee, proof that I don’t own my car, and an application for an ignition interlock license along with another $28 application fee.

After mailing PennDot all the forms and a $53 check to cover the state’s fees, I had to call a company that provides ignition interlock systems to set up the install.  This requires that I send another form, to prove that I don’t own a vehicle.  Thankfully, this form doesn’t require another fee.

Once the form was processed, I was able to schedule the installation of the ignition interlock device.  Pennsylvania state law requires that ignition interlock be installed on all vehicles registered in the offender’s name.  Because I don’t own any vehicles, I only have to have it installed on the car I drive which will amount to $158.40.

In addition, the machine must be calibrated monthly, for a cost of $106 per month.  I am required to keep the ignition interlock on my car for one year, which adds up to $1324.40 for installation and maintenance.

When you add that total to the PennDot fees, I’m looking at a grand total of 1246.40 to be allowed to drive again.  After all I’ve paid so far and how difficult the past year has been, this doesn’t really seem to be too much to pay to restore my independence.

I have to cringe though, when add that to my previous total.  The overall estimated cost of my two DUIs is roughly 11,390.40, disregarding insurance increases and lost wages.

I could have done a lot of travelling with that money, but instead I’ve been living in a room at my parent’s house trying to make ends meet.  Although I’m cringing at the thought of having to pay more money, I’m eager to start driving again, get back on my feet and starting moving away from my past mistakes one step at a time.

This lesson is still being learned.

Note: Upon installation of the Ignition Interlock, I was informed that the original quote was incorrect.  I have since adjusted the above totals to reflect the new information about the charges. -B 


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