Sun Column Lauds Traffic Ticket Legislation

In today’s Sun, Michael Dresser reviews several bills affecting driving laws, and offers these comments:

The traffic court bill would put the burden on people who receive tickets to request a trial if they want a day in court. The measure is aimed at cutting the vast number of violators who fail to appear in court under the current system that assigns a trial date automatically and calls it off only if the fine is prepaid.

This measure has been pushed heavily by police chiefs as a way to cut the enormous amount of money wasted in paying overtime for officers to go to court for trials that never happen. That’s a significant budget savings, but the bill could also have the effect of making traffic court less of a joke in the eyes of everyone involved. When an individual blows off a traffic court appearance, it helps undermine the entire system. One can hope the likely passage of this measure would lead to further reforms that upgrade the professionalism of the entire system. In the long run, we’d all be safer.

MACo has supported this bill (SB 560 and HB 829) and it seems to be on its way toward passage.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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