I don't know that they should be entirely proportional, but it might be a good idea to take income into account in some cases. Otherwise, we can end up with situations where a person who is poor is completely economically devastated for a relatively minor infraction. Should people be put in a situation where they have to starve for even a minor offense?
I believe traffic penalties should be proportional to one's wealth. Too often people who have wealth think they are above the law or have money to hire the best attorneys to get the penalty to disappear. It's not fair that people who are working minimum wage jobs should have to shoulder set fines, which are usually ridiculously high. People make mistakes when driving, and they shouldn't have to go broke paying for those mistakes.
Is to inflict punishment and to deter the offender from repeating (Is how I view it). A more affluent individual hardly feels the same sting from a standard let's say $20.00 fine (Because I don't know standards) than a person with very little income. If the money is meant to pay the city for the inconvenience of having to stop and fine you then a flat rate makes sense, but I do not think that is the reason for it. I see the reason as punishment and deterrence.
The current system does not deter or punish the wealthy and severely punishes the poor causing serious financial problems. The wealthy simply hire attorneys and refuse to pay citations. The rich are not deterred and they don't feel punished. The poor's lives are ruins for minor violations. I think that's enough reason.
Now it's not exactly a crime more like a mistake however say a poor man has a ticket where he needs to pay $200 for him that might be a lot. That will make him try as hard as he can not to do it again so that he doesn't lose a lot of more money. If a wealthy man does the same thing it might just be spare change for him so it doesn't affect him and he'll just keep doing it because he can just keep throwing around that money
The truth is, If I were wealthy ... This wouldn't be a problem. I would just pay them the money they want and they would leave me alone. If I were Rich Uncle Pennybags spoiled nephew, this would be no be deal, it wouldn't be ruining my life. It's going to take me a long time to recover from this. At this moment today, I'm not even sure how that's going to happen.
How is it that the rich are relatively unpunished for the same crime that I'm drowning in debt over? This is oppression. It's oppression and nobody wants to call it that. THE MAN IS HOLDING ME DOWN, MAN! Until we all realize this, we (the working poor) will continue to be oppressed. John Steinbeck once said, "...The poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires."
I was pulled over for illegally speeding. I didn't mean to, it just happened...You know. I handed the Cop the wrong insurance card. I realized my mistake. When he returned to my car I showed him the proper card. He said it was too late. I had already been cited with driving without insurance and illegal speeding. In court they accepted the correct insurance and said I only have to pay $80 court costs for that and $290 for the speeding. $370 for one traffic ticket? I knew California was expensive but this was crazy. I only was making about $900 a month and my rent was $700. I didn't have any real savings. I also had to eat and pay for gas to work. I've been relatively poor my whole life; Where was I going to find $370? They felt pity for me in the court and offered me a payment plan. $50 a month ... This was doable but would make life hard for me. They said they would send a bill to my house and everything would be okay. The bill never came. I called to see if it had been sent. I was then informed that I had missed my first payment and I was in trouble. I asked if they had the right address. Strangely ... They did. They then sent me a letter explaining that because I missed the first payment that I was now guilty of driving without insurance. I now owed the State of California $2,700. There would be no more payment plan and they needed all of the money or they would suspend my license. I tried to get the cash together. At the worst time, my boss sold business. It wasn't easy for me to find a new job. Right after I got a new job, they suspended my driving license. For a short time, I got away with it. Then I got pulled over again (headlight they said). This time, they gave me another court summons and impounded my car for 30 days which will cost me more $1,000 to get back. Now, we're up to a minimum of $3,700 and it's about to get worse because of the charge of driving without a license. Because California is so expensive, I can't afford to live in town. I live in an area that does not have adequate public transportation. How am I to get to work without a car or license?
I stop and think, "If I had money, this would all go away....If I were wealthy, I could just take care of this."
Part 1 of 2
Basically a traffic ticket is meant to be an annoyance, if someone spends more on a meal than a traffic ticket it's not quite doing its whole job. Thus if it scaled up a little bit (with a cutoff) to say average around a day of someone's income (also with a minimum), it might prove more effective.
Is it fair that some people should pay more for the same mistake as others? No... Its not exactly fair if you have to pay more just because you make more money than the other person. It should be a fixed sum with different costs for different penalties. Because you know, some people would have to pay A LOT less than others. Sure you might think that people who CAN afford a simple penalty would just keep doing it... It doesnt matter? Wrong. Who would want to keep wasting money?
No, I do not think that traffic penalties should be proportional to one's wealth. I think that the amount charged for a traffic penalty should be a fixed sum for everyone. That number should be dependent on what the penalty was. The number should be high enough that the person regrets their mistake, but not so high that certain people can't afford it.