Phoenix to offer traffic school

Service would let drivers keep tickets off their records

PHOENIX — Hoping to help drivers ticketed in the city, officials last week approved an online traffic school.

The school, which could be available in February, also might help expedite payment of traffic fines.

Phoenix Police Chief Derek Bowker said drivers who get ticketed inside city limits often ask during Municipal Court appearances for the option of attending traffic school to prevent citations from being reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

"People pretty regularly would ask if we had traffic school. We feel like we're offering an option that wasn't there before as far as keeping the citation off their record so it won't affect insurance rates and stuff like that," Bowker said.

"You have people who have gone their whole lives without a traffic ticket, and one day they're daydreaming and boom they get popped with one, and now their insurance is going to go up for this one ticket."

City Manager Steve Dahl said another likely benefit is that drivers opting for the traffic school will be required to pay all fines and court costs up front versus putting off payment for up to a year.

The city's municipal court meets twice each month. Bowker said he hoped to have the option of traffic court available by late January and online by early February.

One hitch, Bowker said, is that drivers would be eligible for the school just once every three years and only for first offenses.

"You can't go more than once in three years for a moving violation, and you can't have gone to another school or had a ticket and decided not to go," he said.

"It's for people who are getting their first ticket in three years, and they want to keep it off their driving record."

Bowker said the city would neither lose nor gain by offering the traffic school.

"It's more a public relations thing," said the chief. "And obviously we hope that people who take the class get something out of it."

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at buffyp76@yahoo.com.


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