The longer traffic tickets go unpaid, the higher fees pile up and the less likely drivers will ever be to pay them off.Law officials aren’t ignorant of that reality, which is why a handful of others have decided offer limited time amnesty programs for delinquent tickets.
For the last six months, California’s agreed to waive 50 per cent of standard traffic tickets issued before Jan. 1, 2009. The Visalia Times-Delta’s Luis Hernandez reports the program has already brought in $266,000 for one county alone.
The program isn’t a free pass for any and all tickets, however. Overdue bills for DUI, reckless driving, speeding and parking tickets aren’t included in the amnesty and drivers still have to pay for late fees on past-due tickets.
Similar programs were tried in cities like St. Louis, Houston and Las Vegas, but with slight variations. In St. Louis, for example, drivers weren’t on the hook fees that accrued on their ticket, just the original fine. But people only had two days during May to take advantage, reports Chris Regnier at KPLR in St. Louis.
Brad Tuttle of Time Moneyland echoes some of the doubts consumers have about such programs. Is it fair to give these people, who neglected to pay their tickets, a discount when there are plenty of people who were responsible and paid their tickets on time?
Maybe so, but it’s not like drivers who take the amnesty get off completely scot-free. According to California’s website, those people will have to keep any points that were put against their licence the ticket and they must pay off the entire ticket in one lump sum.
It’s also worth noting that the fees go directly to the city, county and the state, so paid tickets benefit the public at large.