Licence ban motivates fine dodgers to pay up

Taking away people's driving licences has proved effective in collecting overdue fines.

Rangitata MP Jo Goodhew said the driver licence stop orders introduced in February had led to 134 people paying their fines at the Timaru District Court.

Under the process, a warning letter gives people 14 days to pay their fine or to set up a payment plan. They receive one more reminder and then, if they ignore it, a bailiff seizes their driving licence. The licence is suspended until the fine is paid in full or payment arrangements are in place.

Nationally, 25,000 fine dodgers were ignoring reminder letters to pay their fines, Goodhew said.

They owed more than $2000 each in fines, for everything from driving an unsafe vehicle to drink-driving or failing to stop after an accident. "Of these, 10,500 have contacted the Ministry of Justice since February to pay their fine or arrange a payment plan."

Over four months, Goodhew said, $4.6 million had been returned to the taxpayer.

"This is money we would not have previously collected.

"It is money the Government can invest back into services for hard-working New Zealanders.

"People are getting the message and paying up."

The licence orders can be placed on anyone who fails to pay traffic-related fines imposed by a court, police or local body - or reparations imposed by a court for traffic-related offences.

The Timaru Herald