When we think about driver's license suspensions, many of us will think of unsafe motorists who lose their driving privileges as a form of punishment. Although using license suspension as a penalty is a common practice for criminal acts, it is also rampant among drivers who fail to pay traffic fines for nonviolent offenses and infractions. A recently proposed bill - Senate Bill 405 - may change that in order to improve safety on California roadways.
Here are a few facts about the bill:
- SB 405 was written by California Senator Bob Hertzberg. It aims to change current laws that penalize drivers with unpaid traffic tickets with license suspensions. The bill specifically targets cases where licenses are suspended in connection to non-violent and non-serious offenses, including expired tags or broken taillights.
- Current state law permits driver's license suspensions in cases where motorists have unpaid traffic fines, fees, and assessments (unpaid fines account for $10 billion in uncollected court-ordered debt). Payment is required to restore driving privileges.
- Senate Bill 405 could affect as many as four million California residents with suspended licenses by restoring their driving privileges with their agreement to participate in Governor Jerry Brown's Traffic Amnesty program.
Aside from improving an unfair system of excessive fines and penalties that push lower income residents further into debt, SB 405 is also being touted as a means to improve roadway safety across the state. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 75 percent of drivers with suspended licenses continue to drive - in many cases without insurance.
Uninsured motorists create additional risks and difficulties in the event that they are involved in auto accidents. By restoring licenses to drivers whose underlying infractions were non-violent and non-serious in nature, California legislators can help increase the number of licensed and insured drivers on public roads. Earlier this year, California allowed undocumented drivers to apply for driver's licenses for similar reasons.
If you have questions about your rights following an auto accident - including those involving uninsured motorists - contact
The DunnionLaw Firm to speak personally with an accident attorney.