Some Valley traffic courts have closed and it's a big inconenience if you want to fight a ticket, or if you are a police officer who needs to make a court appearance.
Courthouses in Coalinga and Mendota were recently shut down. There's a new, high-tech approach to save money, time and trouble.
It's a pilot project and it goes into effect the beginning of April. California Highway Patrol officers say the cut in drive time alone will be a big relief.
It's the first of its kind in the state and possibly the country. The Fresno Superior Court worked out a deal to have remote video proceedings in traffic cases, also known as RVP. Law enforcement believes it's a step in the right direction.
"It's definitely something that we needed to do," said CHP officer from the Coalinga area, Mike Haigh.
Haigh frequently travels to the Superior Court in Fresno to testify. It takes a toll on his vehicle and his time.
"Anywhere from two to three hours out of our shift just taken in response time to get out here
and then back to area," said Haigh.
In 2010, 7,500 traffic citations were filed in urban court areas before the courts closed last summer. Drivers with citations who must travel more than 15 miles to the courthouse in Fresno now have the option to use RVP.
"We thought, through technology we can go back out into those areas or at least have them stay out there...us stay in here and accommodate those types of cases," said Judge Gary Hoff at the Superior Court of Fresno.
Here's what it means to you. If you have a car that gets 35 miles a gallon on the highway, a 141 mile round trip to Coalinga will run you nearly 16 dollars...adding more sting to the cost of a ticket.
Video conferencing traffic courts will be set up in Coalinga and Mendota through a company called "court call." The cost for the pilot project is around $3,000 a year.
Starting april 2nd, the video proceedings in Coalinga will be offered at the old court building and Mendota's will take place at city hall.