BY DORIS B. TRUHLAR
Traffic fines and fees likely will be increased, and municipal court costs will go up if the Centennial City Council adopts the plans it discussed at a recent study session to consider those topics, as well as the likely adoption of the 2018 Model Traffic Code.
Council appeared to be in agreement that the fines should be raised, and that the court costs should be raised. The city first adopted the Model Traffic Code in 2003, two years after Centennial was formed. It did not adopt any other model codes because there were portions of the proposed codes with which it was not in agreement.
The council engaged in an extensive discussion of fines and traffic rules. Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office Bureau Chief Glenn Thompson told council “it is the law” that vehicles must move over to make room for emergency vehicles.
Jennifer Madsen, assistant city attorney, answered many of the questions raised about the model code and traffic regulations in general. She said that on roads where there is not enough room for a car to pull over, vehicles must slow down to accommodate emergency vehicles.
Madsen said the primary purpose of fines for traffic violations is to discourage the fined behavior. She also said that there is a $1,000 limit on fines in traffic cases. Councilman Ron Weidmann said that, in many cases, the points on a driver’s record may be more important to him than the fine.
Councilman Mike Sutherland said that it is important that the fine for not putting children in seat belts is “substantial” because of the high danger of not fastening children into their seats.
City officials said that the Centennial Municipal Court does not pay for itself. It costs $1.40 for every $1 brought in to operate the Municipal Court, according to assistant city managers.
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