The Oppression of the Lower Class by the California Department of Motor Vehicles
High traffic fees and fines quite often cause financial difficulties for the lower class. Transportation has become a necessity over the past one hundred years. Unfortunately with the constant improvements in vehicle technologies the cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle has constantly increased. Going hand in hand with these vehicle improvements the California Vehicle Code (CVC) has become extensive, covering every possible driving mistake with a traffic infraction. Following these changes the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has constantly grown to cover the needs of the 27 million vehicles (DMV update 1998, 3) owned in the state with high vehicle registration fees and traffic fines.
The problem with these fees and fines is that they cause compounding problems if left unpaid. Running a little late on a registration fee will begin with a 10% increase if 1-10 days late and jump all the way to 60% if 31 days -- 1 year late. These are penalties, which target the poor. A financially comfortable licensee will not have the problems of paying a modest fee to the DMV thus, avoiding late fees. Supposing an upper class licensee forgot to pay the resulting penalty would not cause any hardship or their PG&E shut off. (CA DMV, web-site)
Leaving the registration unpaid for a couple of months, the licensee hypothetically gets pulled over and given tickets for driving an unregistered vehicle and speeding. The registration fees continue to compound and the registration goes unpaid. Owing more to the DMV the licensee cannot afford the cost of living and excessive fines. Registration fees get coupled to the fines imposed and before the licensee can get out of the debt he/she receives a notice for a court appearance.
According to CVC 13353.2 a court can order a license suspended for failing to pay fines. With a suspended license, the driver is forced to find another means of transportation to and from work. For some this problem may result in a driver continuing to drive, risking additional citations and larger fines. According to the Law SB 833 by Sen. Quentin Kopp, San Francisco. The "Police can immediately seize and impound a vehicle involved in a traffic accident if the driver is operating the vehicle with a suspended or revoked license." (NewsBank News File, web-site)
There is another way a driver can lose their license. The DMV keeps a driving record on all drivers with a running point tally, accumulating every moving violation a licensee receives. The points, either one or two are given according to the type of offense committed. Any driver accumulating four points in one year will be considered a negligent operator and may have their license suspended. Six points in two years or eight points in three years results in the same punishment. (CA DMV, web-site)
With escalating fines the hypothetical driver can encounter an even greater...