Opinion: How much does a traffic ticket cost? Good luck trying to find out anytime soon.


To the editor: There’s more to this than what Conor Friedersdorf writes. (“How much is too much for a traffic ticket? And who should get the revenue?” Opinion, May 25)

Recently I got a speeding citation in Pasadena. Silly me; I just thought I’d go to court, pay up and sign up for driving school — or better yet, do it all online, DMV-style.

Oh no. I soon found out that my citation wouldn’t show up in the database for 30 days. Why this is, I don’t know, but I’ve been told I won’t even be able to find out what the fine is for another month.


Ralph Coffin, Altadena


To the editor: It’s true that most traffic tickets in California carry absurdly large fines. For the vast majority of offenses committed by most drivers, a flat $100 fine would be a sufficient to get a driver’s attention and change his or her behavior.

The first step toward fairer fines is to require the state and municipalities to reveal on the ticket every added surcharge. Currently, the driver who commits a $100 offense but ends up with a $590 ticket has no idea where the additional $490 charge came from, as the surcharges are not itemized on the bill.

Only when we have transparency regarding who is benefiting from traffic violation surcharges can we begin having a conversation about the fairness of the fines.

Indexing fines to a person’s income is not the answer. Eliminating the hidden taxes that are piled onto every ticket is.

Glenn Fout, Ojai

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