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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

New law allows restricted driver’s license for unpaid traffic tickets

July 7, 2013

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— Motorists who have lost their license because they haven't been able to pay off traffic fines can now get a restricted license.

A law that took effect Monday restores a system to allow motorists with suspended licenses to get a restricted license to drive to work, school, health care appointments or other important destinations while paying off their fines.

To take advantage of the law, applicants must pay a $25 nonrefundable fee and make written application to the Kansas Department of Motor Vehicles. The restricted license is effective for one year.

Drivers with suspended licenses are eligible to apply for a restricted license only if their licenses were suspended over unpaid traffic offenses that were noncriminal or misdemeanors. Suspensions for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are not eligible for restricted licenses.

The restricted license law was originally passed in 2009 but had an automatic expiration last year.

That expiration "caused problems, sometimes major ones for working poor people," according to Kansas Legal Services.

The measure was pushed in the Legislature by state Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau and state Rep. Gail Finney, both Democrats from Wichita.

Supporters of the bill said that people whose driver's licenses were suspended because they couldn't pay fines were sometimes caught up in a cycle of further penalties while being unable to lawfully drive to and from work.

Comments

verity 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm going to add that to my list of sensible bills passed by this legislature.

It was a blank page before.

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1 year, 1 month ago

I don't know about this law. Think about it. We are allowing people who repeatedly violate the law to continue to drive. It is their choice to violate the law and accrue fines they can't pay. Do we want these people on the road?

I say repeatedly violate the law because I find it hard to believe that a person can't pay for one ticket.

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1 year, 1 month ago

And why haven't you've been ticketed in a year? Is it because you have chosen to obey the laws?

Court costs are a rip off since you have to pay them even if you don't go to court. I will agree court costs are unfair.

I'd like to see some stats - what is the average amount owed and average number of tickets.

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verity 1 year, 1 month ago

While on the one hand I agree that some drivers should have their licenses taken away forever, I will give as an anecdote my own experience.

I was in a vehicle crash which was legally my fault, although I couldn't see the other car until I pulled out, even though I had stopped and looked, the other driver was on his phone, probably speeding and could have seen me if he had been paying attention. Not the first accident at that corner and the policeman apologized for having to ticket me. I forget exactly how much that cost me, but it wasn't a small amount. As I recall, it would have cost more if I'd gone to court and lost, so I didn't bother.

But much worse, I was totaled on a 15 year old vehicle worth a few thousand Blue Book, even though it was in excellent shape, so I was also out the cost of a new vehicle.

Fortunately I was working lower middle class, so I could squeeze it out of my budget---not easily.

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1 year, 1 month ago

verity, I can support a payment plan for certain offenses and only one payment plan at a time. On a payment plan and get another ticket then you pay it in full.

I'd like to see the data to see if the people are in a situation like yours or if they are repeat offenders that have not made an attempt to pay their fines or drive legally. I can empathize and support helping someone in a situation like you described, but not the person who repeatedly gets speeding, running red lights, dui tickets.

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verity 1 year, 1 month ago

I share your concerns, Mr Mertz.

I hope, from the information in the article, that each situation will be looked at carefully before the restricted license is given. Since the fee is nonrefundable, I know I wouldn't be applying if I wasn't pretty sure I qualified, but of course I can only speak for myself. I don't want idiots, multiple offenders and DUIs on the road anymore than you do. But I also don't want otherwise responsible people to lose jobs and the ability to pay, which can become a vicious cycle.

It would have been helpful if the article had given some indication of how the law worked in the past, since it's been on the books since 2009.

Maybe not germane to this conversation, but there's a person out there who could easily have killed me because of his inattention---if he had been in a slightly higher vehicle I probably wouldn't have walked away. But according to the law, he was the innocent party.

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1 year, 1 month ago

I hope we are not sterio typing as always the caae

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eotw33 1 year, 1 month ago

DUI's are not eligible. Pretty sure this is more for parking tickets, headlights out, cracked windshields etc. it's not easy replacing a cracked windshield or headlight when you can get a $100 ticket for it whenever they feel like it

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grimpeur 1 year, 1 month ago

Cracked windshield, taillight out? Okay. Give 'em a break. Maybe.

Speeding, parking, failure to yield, running red light, or other moving violation?

Um, no. If you've demonstrated you're a problem driver, then the last thing we want to do is make you think you'll be able to keep driving. This is already a huge problem.

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