LOS ANGELES (CBS) — When it comes to enforcing traffic violations, more officers are cracking down on what many drivers would call the signature California move: a rolling stop at a red light or stop sign.
But with complaints growing over the rapidly escalating cost of traffic tickets here in California, some critics are accusing state lawmakers of using new traffic laws as a backdoor tax hike to counter a soaring budget deficit.
Running a red light can cost drivers upwards of $480 per violation — a nearly $300 increase over the base fine.
Failure to stop for a pedestrian at a crosswalk is almost as costly as far as the premium goes: the base fine of $35 shoots up to nearly $200 more after penalties and fees.
But are these premiums a legitimate form of deterrence or an attempt to squeeze more money out of the state’s already-strapped drivers?
Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association told KNX 1070 that taxpayers are becoming increasingly disgruntled over what they see as an excessive focus on technicalities by law enforcement.
“I don’t think anybody would contest the need to deter and fine for DUIs, but these slow-rolling stops and these really overly-technical application of traffic laws, people really resent that,” said Coupal.
According to the state vehicle code, funds collected for moving violations are applied to the county court system and state funds before any remaining amount is credited to the city in which the violation actually occurred.