Lawmakers Talk About Amending Suspended Drivers Law
When a licensed driver in the state of Washington is issued a traffic ticket the driver is given a certain amount of time to pay for the violation or go to court to explain the situation in front of a judge. But when the driver doesn't pay the ticket state licensing officials suspend the drivers license. Now lawmakers in Olympia want to make a change and Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic says he's in support. Lawmakers are proposing a measure that would stop that practice and prevent state licensing officials from suspending driver's licenses if a person can't pay for the ticket or if they refuse to respond to the ticket. The measure in the state legislature is sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Emily Randall. Randall says the measure would drop the current action that suspends licenses because the drivers can't pay traffic tickets. If the measure becomes law Washington State won't be the first to implement the law. Oregon and California and 10 other states have similar laws on the books. Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic says given the many serious crimes prosecutors deal with every day charging people who can't pay traffic tickets isn't a high priority in Yakima County or any other county in the state. Brusic says often times those with suspended licenses have clean records but simply don't have the ability to pay a ticket to continue to drive.
Washington State officials and the Associated Press report suspended licenses account for about 33% of the caseload for prosecutors in the state.