California gets a bad rep for the bad traffic in its main urban areas, but it’s the spiraling traffic fines that often make the news. Unfortunately, California is one of the poorest states in the country. As the state’s low-income residents struggle to make ends meet, they end up failing to pay traffic fines and court fees. Over time, their driver’s licenses are suspended, and the difficulties associated with their traffic tickets continue to escalate.
In order to address this problem, California’s governor is instituting an amnesty program for those who cannot afford their traffic fines.
With the new plan, those with lesser infractions would only pay 50 to 80 percent of what they owe. The cost of their final ticket would be based on their income. Civil assessment fees could also be waived under certain circumstances.
But to those with outstanding tickets who can afford to pay the fines, just do not have all the money upfront, installment plans will also be available.
The only violations that are not eligible are drunken driving and reckless driving.
This measure is being celebrated by many. So far, the state has already suspended 4.8 million driver’s licenses since 2006 over failure to pay fines or appear in court. Out of the millions suspended, only 83,000 were reinstated.
To court administrators and several lawmakers, minorities and low-income Californians are being exploited by the system. With traffic fines skyrocketing, most courts started depending on fees to stay open.
With the increase of add-on fees to several basic citations, drivers end up having to pay a lot more than Californians used to pay twenty years ago.
If Governor Brown’s plan is enacted, many drivers who are now struggling to make ends meet may at least have some relief when it comes to their traffic citations.
To those who are concerned about auto and road safety, however, this plan may end up giving drivers more incentives to break traffic rules.
Whether you’re one of the several million drivers who will benefit from California’s new strategy to cut residents’ expenses on traffic citations or now, we urge you to continue being a safe driver at all times. Focusing on the road ahead and making sure that you’re not distracted, intoxicated, or speeding will help you to avoid being cited while also helping to make roads safer everywhere.
If you would like to learn more about California’s new plan, you may follow this link to read the entire report.