KGO Radio: Traffic Violation Fees May Be Taking Advantage of Low-Income Californians

Original reporting from KGO-810 Radio.

By Mark Richards

California is having trouble collecting traffic fines, and the additional legislature fees are making the fines even tougher for traffic law violators to pay.

Tickets for minor infractions like missing licence plates or cracked windshields often have minor fines, but the legislature fees associated with these infractions can make it difficult for low-income Californians to pay. People who are unable to pay these fines often just avoid their hearings.

Meredith Desautels with the Lawyers’ Committee of San Francisco says, “the fines which are already very high go up even higher, and the driver’s license is suspended.”

The Lawyers’ Committee is studying this problem, and they find that when a person’s licence is suspended, they can also sometimes lose employment.

Desautels said, “it ensures that people who initially couldn’t pay their debts won’t ever be able to do so.”

The state currently is facing $10 billion in uncollected traffic fines. A bill addressing this issue has recently been introduced in Sacramento.