In California, more than 50 state and local government programs rely on revenue collected from fines and fees, many from traffic tickets. As a result, while base fees set by the Judicial Council have remained the same, traffic tickets have soared. Millions of Californians struggle to pay these fines; many have lost their driver's licenses.
Recognizing that this is a structural problem in California government, court leaders, the state Legislature, and the executive branch are working together to reform the system. Examples:
- California is currently offering an amnesty program for unpaid traffic and non-traffic infraction tickets, which continues through March 2017. Thousands of Californians have already applied for significant discounts and restored driver's licenses.
- In 2015, under the Chief Justice's direction, the Judicial Council swiftly changed a traffic rule so that those who receive moving violations do not have to pay bail to get their day in court.
- The Judicial Council's Traffic Advisory Committee continues to work on improvements to rules, forms, and legislative proposals to make traffic court more efficient and fair.