Amnesty Day

Vermont’s plans for a statewide amnesty day made the news last week.

“Drivers!” Billy Mays might shout with a thumbs up. “Get your suspended license reinstated for the low, low cost of just $20 per ticket.”

This is a one day only deal!

“The idea is we have over 20,000 Vermonters who have suspended licenses and many of them are suspended because they can’t afford to pay the mounting fines,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-VT.

Whatever happened to “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”

State officials say that those 20,000 Vermonters have 113,000 (a bargain of $2,260,000 at $20 a pop) unpaid tickets.

Secretary of Transportation Sue Minter’s amnesty task force has started reviewing likely options for a new law that could help open channels for Vermonters to have their licenses restored.

Turns out we’ve already had a very successful pilot project. Six months ago, hundreds of Vermonters turned out in Burlington for the experimental amnesty day. They could pay off old tickets for $20 apiece and have their licenses restored on the spot.

More than 1,200 people from five counties showed up, some with tickets 30 years old.

Lawmakers will likely introduce legislation next year that could help Vermonters beat their driver’s license suspensions because they weren’t able to pay the fines.

A separate initiative would create legislation to dismiss all tickets issued before 1991.

State leaders put forth lots of reasons to forgive these transgressors.

They can’t afford the fines.
They can’t get insurance.
It’s bad debt, so this clears the slate and gives them a fresh start.

Uh huh.

“This is not a gift,” State’s Attorney TJ Donovan told WCAX. “This is in the interest of all Vermonters because while they are on our roadways, we know they’re driving illegally, but they’re also driving without insurance.”

So people who lost their licenses because they couldn’t pay a few hundred in fines will magically afford the thousand-dollar-plus insurance policies?

Good one.

They can’t afford the fine, yes? I wonder how of the more than 20,000 Vermonters with unpaid tickets are low income?

“Uh, we do not have those numbers,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said.

A Connecticut man was clocked driving 112 mph on Interstate 89 in Royalton the other day. He was late for traffic court for a speeding ticket. He could probably use the Amnesty Day.

Whatever happened to Tony Baretta, anyway?

Apparently we’ll give you a pass on the crime if you’re poor and live in Vermont.

“This works so well, I wonder what else we could use amnesty for?” an unnamed state leader was overheard to ask.

Delinquent drivers can pay their discounted fines by check, credit card or money order. The state will not accept cash.


One thought on “Amnesty Day

  1. Here’s a “back channel” conversation with Anon in N.J.

    Anon: Hmmm. So for only $20 a dangerous driver can back on the road …

    Moi: We wouldn’t want to discriminate, now, would we?

    Anon: Hell yes! I drive the roads from NJ to PA three days a week and most of the drivers these days can not handle a car – many try to handle a car and cell phone at same time. It’s dangerous out there

    Moi: Oh, you’re safe in Vermont. See, it’s against the law here to use electronic devices while driving so, of course, no one does that.

    Anon: Right. Illegal in NJ, too.

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