Drivers can soon pay traffic fines in installments
Ryan Miller is reporting for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle a bill signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on December 31, will allow drivers to set up payment plans if they cannot afford to pay an entire fine in a lump sum. The law will take effect March 31. State Sen. Tim Kennedy, of Buffalo, and Assemblymember Pamela Hunter, of Syracuse, both Democrats, sponsored the bill, known as the Driver's License Suspension Reform Act. "The privilege of driving should not be attached to your income," they said in a joint statement. Previously, non-payment of non-criminal traffic-related fines and fees resulted in an automatic driver's license suspension, and courts were generally not allowed to take into consideration a driver's ability to pay the fine or offer installment plans. A report released earlier this year by the Racial Justice Project at New York Law School found that people of color "are disproportionately stopped, ticketed, ticketed with multiple tickets, arrested, charged, and convicted for traffic violations and driving with suspended licenses" across the state and country. As a result, the disparities leave poor communities of color with growing traffic debt, leading to higher suspension rates of driver's licenses in communities of color. Under the new law, drivers hit with traffic violation fines can pay monthly installments of $10, or two percent of their net monthly income, whichever is greater. Read the full story in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.