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TMCNet:  Whatcom County court offers online service to handle traffic tickets

[May 13, 2010]

Whatcom County court offers online service to handle traffic tickets

May 13, 2010 (The Bellingham Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Whatcom County District Court is now offering an online service that allows people cited for traffic infractions to settle their case or request a hearing before a judge.

The move will help the court's 20,000-plus traffic infractions each year flow through it more efficiently, Court Administrator Bruce Van Glubt said. It's the fourth district court in Washington to set up such a service, he said.

The county government's information technology department developed the service's software. In four months of testing, the service processed more than 300 cases, Van Glubt said.

The biggest benefit will be to residents cited for traffic infractions, as many will be able to deal with the citations from home without having to drive to downtown Bellingham and handle them with a court employee in person.

Van Glubt said the service will allow employees to manage their workload better because they can handle the traffic infractions whenever they have time, as opposed to whenever someone walks into the court clerks' office.

"It really was a huge time-saver," Van Glubt said. "I think it's going to be really popular. The benefit to us is that it will reduce somewhat the traffic flow to the front counter." Van Glubt said that despite the efficiency and convenience of the new system, he doesn't expect the service to save the court money.

But gauging the service's impact may take a while.

"What we'll have to see in a year or two is whether this thing is going to have a huge impact," Van Glubt said.

------ PAY OR CONTEST TICKET ONLINE For traffic infractions (not parking tickets), go to co.whatcom.wa.us/districtcourt. Make sure you have the citation number.

To pay the fine with a debit or credit card, click on "Online Payments," which goes to a secure website that will process the payment.

To contest the citation or request mitigation or deferment, click "Online Infraction Program" and follow the steps.

Reach PETER JENSEN at peter.jensen@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-715-2264.

To see more of The Bellingham Herald or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.bellinghamherald.com. Copyright (c) 2010, The Bellingham Herald, Wash. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

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