Friday, October 14, 2005
Radio Ads Promoting Web Payment of Traffic Fines to Begin Monday
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A series of radio spots promoting a program under which traffic fines can be paid on the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Web site is set to launch Monday, court officials said yesterday.
The court will pay $125,000 to sponsor 1,110 10-second spots, most of them linked to traffic reports during morning and afternoon rush hours. A court spokesperson said the program may be the first paid ad campaign on any topic sponsored by any court in the United States.
The spokesperson said the court’s research failed to uncover any others, though she conceded that in the wake of publicity surrounding this campaign information about others may emerge.
The spots will be carried on 75 AM and FM radio stations and will advise drivers that “paying your traffic ticket doesn’t have to be as painful as getting one.” They will air over the next 13 weeks in English, Spanish and Chinese and are expected to reach 7.5 million adult listeners.
The spots explain that drivers can pay fines, enroll in traffic school, schedule a traffic court appearance or obtain an extension by visiting the court’s Web site at www.lasuperiorcourt.org.
“In the past year, thousands of drivers paid traffic tickets or conducted other traffic matters via the Court’s Website,” Presiding Judge William A. MacLaughlin said in a statement. “The radio ads will steer thousands more to the Court’s Web site where they can quickly and conveniently process traffic matters and obtain a wealth of other innovative Web-based services in Los Angeles County.”
A credit card is required for online traffic payments. Only traffic citations issued in Los Angeles County can be accessed, though several other counties offer similar services on their own Web sites.
The announcements are expected to reach listeners in Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties.
A convenience fee is assessed for most online credit card traffic court transactions, though some services — such as scheduling an initial court date — are free. In a press release, the court described the convenience fees as “nominal.”
All Los Angeles Superior Court Internet traffic transactions are tied to traffic citation numbers, but drivers can locate a citation number on the court’s Web site using their California driver’s license number.
The press release cautioned that citations may not appear in the online case index for up to three weeks after being issued.
Court officials said revenue from the anticipated additional online case volume generated by the paid public service announcements will be used to expand the court’s Internet traffic services. The increase is also expected to reduce courthouse congestion and to ease the workload for a court staff adversely affected by budget cuts over the past three years, they said.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company