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Cities And States Consider Measures To Squeeze Money Out Of Motorists.

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On: Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 9:45AM | By: Clay Ritchings

Cities And States Consider Measures To Squeeze Money Out Of Motorists.

Adding insult to injury, cash-strapped California is seeing some of the most aggressive efforts to squeeze money out of motorists by considering plans to send accident cleanup bills to drivers involved in a crash, according to the Association of California Insurance Companies. Many insurance companies do not cover cleanup fees. Drivers are already being double-tapped by a budget deal that increased the vehicle license fee owners pay to register their cars every year. A significant portion of the revenue goes to the state's general fund, and the rest to local crime prevention programs.

Drivers who receive a ticket will have to pay the fine for the ticket plus a slew of tacked-on fees and penalties that ballooned the cost more than tenfold. Every $10 of the original fine triggers a $26 "penalty assessment" for courthouse construction, a DNA identification program, emergency medical services, and other programs.

This year Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger suggested retrofitting 500 city and county traffic cameras to cite not only drivers who blow through red lights but speeders, too. California is not the only state that is imposing this new way of taxing the people. Motorists all over the country can only expect more of the same as cash-strapped cities and states consider these measures.

One has to question if finance isn't a part of the motivating factor for putting in these cameras, but then again if you have read any of my other posts, you would already know that.

Faced with a $120 million budget deficit, West Virginia lawmakers are turning to school buses to bring in desperately needed revenue. The House of Delegates voted to give final approval to House Bill 4223, which allows school boards to deploy camera systems on buses to issue $500, automated tickets for passing a bus with the red lights going. In 2006, lawmakers in West Virginia enacted one of the country's toughest bans on all forms of photo enforcement but state officials insist that the photo enforcement ban is not applicable because "photo monitoring devices" are defined as automated systems. The same officials insist that the school bus drivers would operate the cameras with a button. Now this is pretty straight forward: if you pass a bus while loading or unloading children you get a ticket. I can live with that, there are no gray areas, and no rolling right turns to contend with. It’s funny how that works, they ban the photo enforcement, then when they see the ”greenbacks” they do a flip-flop . . . beginning to see a pattern? As if the bus drivers don’t have enough to do watching all those kids and the road. I am curious to see what training these bus drivers will have to go through.

Since the vast majority of tickets issued by RLC’s are for rolling through a right turn on red which statistically has only a miniscule chance of causing an accident, the solution may be some legislation that makes $20 the maximum amount any jurisdiction can charge for a right-turn-on-red ticket. People violating the right on red are put on notice, the people on the side of cameras for safety still have their cameras, and the people who say it's not about the revenue can prove it.

It is clear to me that cash strapped states are doing whatever they can to make money for their ailing budgets without using the “tax” word wherever possible. Unfortunately it’s the people that are being victimized to accomplish this. The current fees are too much for people who can least afford it in these economic times. We need to initiate legislation that puts a ceiling on right-turn-on-red tickets, and let's put this behind us.

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James Roberts | 10:49AM (Wed, Mar 24, 2010)

Is this what's next... cameras on buses? at least It may make some motorists think before blowing past a bus with my child on it...


gator done | 11:01AM (Wed, Mar 24, 2010)

I would love it if Florida put cameras on buses!

  • gator done

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