Getting a speeding ticket in California could leave traffic violators in a tremendous amount of debt. California has the highest fines in the nation regarding traffic violations, with one speeding ticket totaling $1,500. The Sacramento Bee explains that receiving a traffic violation ticket in California is, "...a slow moving disaster that's likely to upend [people's] lives and plunge them into debt."
LaSanya Breazell, a resident trying to pay her $1,500 speeding ticket told The Bee's editorial board: "It all boils down to money, and the working poor don't have it."
A new bill, authored by Senator Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, would change the state's overpriced fines.
This bill was granted temporary amnesty in 2015, which gave drivers who could not afford to pay their tickets a way to pay for them. People were allowed to pay what they could afford. The program brought in $24.7 million. This was money that would have previously gone unpaid.
There was another provision in the bill which banned the practice of suspending people's driver's licenses due to unpaid traffic fines. Data found that suspending someone's license did not make them more likely to pay. More research found the state could make $140 million if they changed the way it handled suspended licenses.
If this bill is passed, courts will be required to consider whether or not drivers can afford their tickets before fining them. Judges will have the capability of reducing fines by 80 percent. Drivers will also be permitted to pay their fines over time without the fear of losing their license.
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