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Driverless Cars And Money

police officerIn a few more years, the revenue vs. safety debate may move from courtrooms in Inyo County to the vast stretches of Hwy 395.

A recent report from the Brookings Institution made some interesting points. The City of Los Angeles collects $161 million in parking tickets per year, to go along with millions more in traffic ticket penalty assessments. Driverless cars will theoretically never get a traffic ticket, although they are programmed to exceed the speed limit in certain situations. That lost revenue will have to come from somewhere, and most observers agree it will be from higher taxes.

The report predicts that most cars will be driverless by 2035, and authorities will eventually ban vehicles with human drivers.

Revenue v Safety

The United States Constitution bans “excessive fines” as punishment in criminal cases.

Regardless of the label assigned to these matters, a line must be drawn somewhere. As a very general rule of thumb, fines should be set in accordance with the following priorities:

  • Punishment: Although fines should be high enough to feel the pinch, they should not be oppressively high.
  • Deterrence: In a similar vein, fines should be high enough to deter future misconduct but should not be the equivalent of being locked in the stockade for everyone to see.
  • Revenue: There’s nothing wrong with the state making a few dollars off fines, especially if the services are related to the violation and the violation enforcement is designed to protect public safety.

The current penalty assessment system basically has the priorities reversed. Penalty assessments are basically designed to raise revenue, and the punishment outweighs the crime.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive lawyers at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-859-1177 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-376-0214.