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Windfall Or Shortfall?

As driverless cars edge closer and closer to reality in Kern County – Tesla and Uber have joined Google in the autonomous vehicle testing sector, and General Motors just invested $500 million in Lyft – governments may be facing a substantial monetary shortfall.

“[L]ocal governments will lose a major source of revenue” once driverless cars are available to consumers, according to a Brookings Institution report. That conclusion is based on the fact that autonomous vehicles will theoretically never speed, change lanes without signaling, run a stop sign, or commit other moving violations. Moreover, according to researchers at the University of Michigan, on-demand cars would reduce car ownership 43 percent. In California, that drop would translate to a $2 billion revenue loss from property taxes on automobiles.

In response to these anticipated dilemmas, Oregon recently imposed a usage tax of 1.5 cents per mile per vehicle.

Non-Point Violations

If history has taught us anything, it is that the government always finds a way to get paid. In the near future, if the number of moving violations decreases, expect the Legislature to raise the fines and penalty assessments on non-moving violations. These violations include infractions like:

  • No seat belt,
  • Past-due inspection stickers,
  • Mechanical issues, like burnt-out headlights,
  • Expired or suspended drivers’ licenses, and
  • Obstructed-view violations, like a radar detector attached to the windshield.

Because they are non-point violations, traffic school is generally not an option in these cases. Furthermore, a non-point violation may trigger higher auto insurance rates.

Driverless cars are also a money saver. That Brookings Institution report estimates that governments will save $10 billion a year, because autonomous vehicles will not crash, causing infrastructure damage and clogging the courts with personal injury litigation.

So, the world will keep turning and your money will keep going to Sacramento, unless you help yourself by fighting your ticket.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive attorneys at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-349-9300 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-349-9755.