California forbids some local tickets as of July 1

| 6/27/2011

Revenue is more difficult to come by for all levels of government throughout the country. The situation is no different in California. A new law that takes effect Friday, July 1, is intent on making sure local governments do not cut out a source of revenue for the state.

Approved a year ago by California lawmakers, the rule change is now being implemented.

Intended to end a “patchwork of laws” for drivers cited for moving violations, the new law prohibits local law enforcement in cities that include Long Beach, Oakland and Alameda County from issuing their own tickets for certain traffic violations already covered under state law.

Supporters said the bill simply clarifies existing state law.

“This should now stop the growing practice where local governments made it their policy to substitute their own local ordinances for those in the state’s vehicle code,”the late Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, said in a statement issued after the bill was signed into law.

Oropeza said at the time such inconsistency in enforcing state law can only lead to confusion and distrust among drivers.

Accurate collection of safety data used to track unsafe drivers and calculate insurance rates also is more difficult, she said. In addition, it puts federal highway funding at risk because the state does not have accurate information on moving violations, which are among the data used to calculate funding.

Local authorities, who already get a share of ticket fines, will be prohibited from enacting or enforcing an ordinance involving violations covered by the state vehicle code, such as speeding and running red lights. Cities and counties could continue to issue administrative tickets for violating posted signs, such as stop signs.

Administrative tickets are much cheaper than tickets issued under the vehicle code. In certain instances, the fine can be less than half the amount of a state-issued ticket.

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