Iowa high court raises due process concerns over traffic cams

Photo Credit: By Ctjf83, CC BY-SA 3.0  or GFDL, from Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: By Ctjf83, CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, from Wikimedia Commons

The Iowa Supreme Court has raised concerns about the way cities administer traffic cams, noting that tickets represent municipal fines which require court proceedings, not simply administrative action.

“The point is that the ticket is not just a ticket against your car in the traffic cam picture, it’s a ticket against the driver, as a person. And people, unlike cars, are entitled to due process and a chance to be heard,” notes a blog.

The blog, which cites a Des Moines Register article, points out judicial concerns over due process.

“The court did not make any rulings on whether traffic cams are legal or not,” notes the blog. “But rather, the court said the city’s current traffic cam ticket process is unjust. The notices that car owners receive advise the drivers of their right to appeal the traffic cam ticket, but then use language describing the ticket as a ‘judgment’ and a ‘final administrative decision’ that can result in collection efforts and legal action, even though the case has not gone through the due process of the court system.”

How A $100 Traffic Ticket Grows To A $495 Fine

The news website has a good breakdown of why California is in the middle of a traffic-fine rebellion, with millions of drivers going unlicensed and emergency measures halting the practice of forcing payment before allowing people to contest their tickets. 
Milt Younger. Photo: The Bakersfield Californian.

Milt Younger. Photo: The Bakersfield Californian.

Milt Younger, a longtime attorney writing for the op-ed page, explained that a hypothetical “$100 ‘average” ticket will actually cost a driver $490. Even tickets in the $25 range, for example for failing to notify the DMV within 10 days of moving, will swell to $196. Do the math on how much a $300, or $1,000 ticket will cost.”
The additions have to do with the array of fees added over the years. For example, the “state penalty assessment” is $10 for every $10 of base fine and something called a “conviction assessment” is another $35 while the “county fund” is $7 for each $10 of base fine.
It’s a good argument for starting over. Check it out here.