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Officials raise fines for parking tickets, moving violations

January 29, 2010 |  7:24 am


Naughty drivers are paying more for their infractions.

Local and state officials are turning to parking and traffic tickets to boost recession-hit coffers.

Revenue from red-light cameras is also on the rise, doubling in L.A. from $200,000 a month in 2007 to $400,000 a month at the end of 2009, according to estimates prepared by the Los Angeles County Superior Court, which processes ticket payments. The city more than doubled the amount charged for motorists who make rolling right turns against red lights from $156 to $381 in 2008, bringing it in line with other cities.

Additional costs, including traffic school fees, often add to the price drivers pay. Last year, the state increased the fines for traffic tickets and used the proceeds to help renovate courthouses. The changes included a $35 surcharge on traffic tickets.

The ticket for an expired meter in Los Angeles jumped from $40 in 2008 to about $50 last year, and "fix-it" tickets for minor moving violations such as broken taillights more than doubled.

And officials are now hatching new ideas to bring in even more money from naughty motorists.

L.A. and other cities are urging the Legislature to allow them to place wheel boots on cars that have as few as three unpaid parking tickets. Currently, the law allows the boot only after a driver accumulates five parking tickets. In L.A. alone, officials estimate the change would help them recover overdue parking citations totaling as much as $61 million. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants cities and counties to install speed sensors on red-light cameras to catch speeding cars. Fines would range from $225 to $325, and state officials estimate the change would generate more than $300 million for the state through the end of 2011.

Read the full story here.

-- My-Thuan Tran and Ari B. Bloomekatz

Photo: Parking tickets and other infractions are getting costlier in Los Angeles and elsewhere as municipalities turn to them as a means of boosting revenue during the recession. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)