A new bill making its way through the California state legislature could soon provide financial relief to people who make less for minor traffic violations.
The bill, called SB185, is sponsored by State Sen. Robert Hertzberg. It aims to prevent the automatic suspension of a driver's license for people who aren't able to pay fines or fees for minor traffic tickets.
"The red light ticket right now, the minimum price right now is $490," said traffic attorney Mitch Mehdy. "You can't spend half your paycheck on a red light ticket."
Here's how the legislation would work: let's say you get a ticket and it's more than you can pay. The court can look to see if you meet certain income-based factors to put you either on a payment plan or reduce your payments all together.
Mehdy does caution that "the Danger here is that you can a backlash effect of while you're giving somebody back their license, the flip side is you've got somebody that might be encouraged to do the bad behavior or running the red light without those consequences."
Still, Sen. Hertzberg's office insists the bill does have teeth.
If a driver fails to meet the new court agreement or fine structure, they will loose their license. This bill does not raise ticket prices for people with more money.
Hertzberg's office believes this is a way for the state to recoup a portion of the billions in outstanding traffic violations. We should know next week if it the bill passes the appropriations committee.