May 17, 2017
This op-ed from Insight Center’s Director of Racial Equity and Strategy, Jhumpa Bhattacharya, discusses the consequences of a system that charges an exorbitant amount for traffic violations. While traffic tickets are a pain for everyone, the impact is greatest among low-income mostly Brown and Black neighborhoods, who are often unable to pay the initial ticket fee and then get charged with multiple late fees, and in some cases, license suspension.
“This has led to millions of Californians being in debt for old traffic tickets they cannot afford to pay. While there are mechanisms in place to apply for fee reprieve, the process is convoluted and complex, and varies by county… How can we expect them to pay more fees if they can’t afford the initial fine? And without their licenses, how can they get to work, pick up kids and care for their families?”