Tuesday, August 28, 2007

    Real Equality: Traffic Tickets

    Two vehicles:

    You're driving your 10 year old little car and get a speeding ticket for driving 10 MPH over the posted limit. Let's say the ticket will cost you $200.00.

    Exact same street a truck also goes 10 MPH over the speed limit. Their ticket will cost them $200.00, same as you.

    Is this fair? I say NO! Beside the fact a speeding truck is a greater road threat than a little car there's just something wrong with the way fines are assessed.

    A fine is intended to be a punishment, yet it might take a couple of days for someone to earn $200 while another person (or company) might make that in a much shorter period. So a fine to one person might be a big burden while that same fine to another is just a nuisance. Not fair!

    Traffic tickets put a huge burden on the middle and poor in most all states. Someone driving a Ferrari and most likely has more $ will be fined the same amount as someone with less money driving an old clunker.

    My solution? Assign the fine as a percent. But a percent of what? Two possibilities: (1) a percent of a person's net worth or (2), a percent of the Blue Book value of the vehicle.

    Option 1 is not feasible since auditing every person for each ticket is not practical.

    Option 2 is very practical.

    In the first example that $200.00 fine you paid might represent 0.5% of the Blue Book value of the vehicle involved in the violation. For that truck, to make things equal, 0.5% of their Blue Book value might be more like $1000 - $3000 or even more. In the case of commercial vehicles I would have the company owner pay the fine. (I'd be you'd see lots less speeding trucks!)

    So instead of a flat dollar amount fines would be assessed on a flat percent of Blue Book value of the vehicle. In this way people and companies with more money would pay more.

    It's only fair!

    Note: Cities and states should drool over this since the added revenue might just pay for all those police they say they can't afford!

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