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Maryland considers new fees to further penalize reckless drivers

Maryland, like most states around the country, is struggling with overwhelming debt. The amount of money lacking from the 2011 state budget proposal is so staggering that most ordinary citizens can hardly contemplate it. After all, who could truly imagine being $1.4 billion dollars in the red? Yet, that number is approximately the gap between the expenditures projected by Maryland legislators and the current state income.

One way some politicians are suggesting to close that gap is by raising the traffic violation fees paid by Maryland drivers. Governor Martin O'Malley has suggested that drivers who practice the kind of driving habits known to cause car accidents should be issued larger fines, although not everyone is on board with the proposal.

The new fees would only penalize drivers who have five or more bad driving points on their record. Under current laws, receiving a ticket for a traffic violation earns a motorist a certain number of points which escalate along with the severity of the crime. For example, every citation a driver obtains for running a red light will add two points to their total.

If the new system is accepted by the State Assembly, drivers will have to pay an extra $100 dollars for every point they receive over five points and an extra $200 dollars for seven points.

Some representatives are cautiously supporting the bill, partially because they hope it will help make Maryland roads safer. Other supporters emphasize that only about 14,000 people in the state of Maryland have five or more points on their license. They claim that the fees are not intended to affect the average driver, just the most dangerous ones.

Source: Fox News, "Bad Driving in Maryland May Become More Costly with Governor's Proposal." Beth Parker, 7 February 2011.

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