"Fix-It Ticket" program begins in TD

A brochure explains the "Fix-It Ticket" program in The Dalles, which the city hopes will encourage drivers to fix safety issues with their vehicles.

For years, city police would issue warnings for equipment violations on vehicles, only to see the same vehicle, still unrepaired, driving around later on.

Under a new program, called “Fix-it Ticket,” in those instances where an officer uses his discretion to issue a ticket, people can get the ticket dismissed if they prove they fixed the problem. They will have to also pay a $35 administrative fee.

The Dalles Traffic Safety Officer Jeff Kienlen said, “The ticket will go away, but there’s a fee for the program and the fee’s substantially less than the fine.”

The Dalles Police Chief Patrick Ashmore said he doesn’t expect to see additional tickets written because of the program. Rather, it will allow people who have gotten tickets to put money toward fixing problems rather than the cost of a ticket.

The program includes 19 correctable violations, most of which are safety issues, Kienlen said. They include operating without a proper muffler/exhaust system, defective lighting equipment, no rear view mirror and obstructed windows.

Other correctable items aren’t equipment violations, but cover things like failing to register a vehicle or renew a registration, failure to change an address/vehicle registration and failure to carry current proof of insurance.

Those under 16 face a fix-it ticket for no helmet when riding on a skateboard, roller blades or scooter.

Kienlen expects to see fix-it tickets mostly for defective lighting equipment and failure to renew registration.

Some drivers may get unexpected tickets regarding driving without a driver’s license. That’s because, even when a driver may have a license issued by another state, as soon as they aren’t a resident of that state anymore the license is no longer valid, Kienlen said.

Putting your license plate on your dashboard is a violation, as is not having a front license plate.

The person getting a ticket must make the correction before the court date listed on their ticket, which is usually set for two weeks after the ticket is issued, Kienlen said.

Once they make the repair, they have to bring it to the police department, at 401 Court St., for an inspection. The inspections will only be conducted Monday through Friday (except holidays) between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Once the officer has signed off on the inspection, the person takes the completed form and the $35 administrative fee to The Dalles Municipal Court.

Fix-it tickets can only be used one time for the same offense.

The city began working on the program 10 months ago. A paralegal at the city who was drafting revised municipal court rules suggested the program, which she’d seen in another city.

“She brought the idea to the police department for our input, and we liked it and just made a few minor changes and that was mainly to the violations that people would be cited for in the program,” Kienlen said.

Kienlen thinks the program will be a good thing, since the current traffic school options are limited in what violations qualify. “And a lot of times to complete these classes or diversion programs it can be far more expensive than the citation.”

The seat belt diversion class costs $140 altogether, and the citation is $115, but people take the class because the extra money is worth it to some to not have a conviction on their record, he said.

Qualifying violations are: failure to change address/vehicle registration; failure to register vehicle; failure to pay registration fee; failure to display license plate; altered/obstructed license plate; improper display of stickers; failure to carry current proof of insurance; operating a vehicle without driving privileges or in violation of license restrictions;  failure to change address on ID card or driver’s license; failure to maintain seat belt; no bicycle helmet; no helmet when riding a skateboard, roller bladesor scooter; improper fenders or mudguards; obstructed windows; tinted windows (less than 35 percent light transmittance); operating without a proper muffler/exhaust system; no rear view mirror; and defective lighting equipment.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that the program is not expected to generate the issuance of additional tickets.

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