- Associated Press - Friday, February 19, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - Drivers who have had their licenses suspended due to outstanding traffic fines may be able to get back on the road faster in Phoenix.

The city has started a new program where license suspensions are lifted as soon as drivers begin making monthly payments on fines, not when they pay their full balances as before, KJZZ-FM reported (https://bit.ly/1KuMvTw).

Phoenix Municipal Court Chief Presiding Judge Don Taylor says the Compliance Assistance Program is for people who have missed payments for fines on civil traffic violations like speeding or illegally parking. The program puts those people on a payment plan they can afford.

“We’re not forgiving the amounts that they were found to be responsible for,” he said. “They’re still paying those amounts. We’re just putting it within their reach in a sustainable way,”

The program is designed to help reduce the city’s $283 million fine backlog and break the cycle of late fees and other penalties.

Taylor said many people find themselves saddled with fines they can’t afford to pay and jobs they need to drive to. They don’t pay the fines, have their licenses suspended and then drive anyway, racking up more fines and a criminal charge.

“I wanted to really look at and make sure we were doing everything we can to make sure law enforcement is about public safety and not tax collection,” Phoenix Councilwoman Kate Gallego said.

The city has had more than 1,000 people sign up for the program since it launched about three weeks ago.


Information from: KJZZ-FM, https://www.kjzz.org/

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