Loophole lets CA gov't workers not pay fines

April 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Countless government workers throughout California are taking advantage of a loophole that lets them get out of paying a parking ticket, a toll violation or a red light camera fine. That is because certain positions allow them to keep their DMV information confidential, including their home addresses.

"Toll road companies or anybody that administrates those electronic cameras are unable to get an address to send a ticket to," Assm. Jeff Miller, R-Corona, said.

The law originally was meant to keep criminals from going to the homes of police officers and judges, but lawmakers expanded the list over the years to include park rangers and security officers at museums, even city council members.

DMV now has more than one million vehicles registered to motorists connected to 1,800 state and local government agencies allowed to shield their addresses.

Miller successfully passed his bill in committee Monday to force the DMV to list a work address and prevent the registration of vehicles that have unpaid violations.

"No government worker should be exempt from a fine and none of them should be above the law," he said.

Toll and fine evaders cost local and state government much needed revenues. When someone does not pay, transportation projects lose funding.

"It means you either got to raise the toll and make everyone else pay or you are not able to do some new projects," Mark Watts of Transportation California said.

Miller says in his Orange County district, there are workers who have run the 91 Express toll road hundreds of times without paying and their tab is in the tens of thousands of dollars and will unlikely get collected.

Drivers ABC7 spoke with do not like the free pass certain workers are getting.

"If you're running a red light or doing something wrong, you should have to pay for it just like everyone else should," Rebecca Walker said.

"That just means they say, 'Hey I can go through a red light, hey, I can do this and that and I'm not going to get busted for it,'" Kenny Dove said.

Some critics question why it is even necessary to keep addresses confidential because it has become much more difficult for the public to access DMV information.


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