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Drivers will no longer tickets for broken vehicle lights in Minneapolis, Hennepin County

Instead, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office will hand out vouchers to fix the lights.
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Hennepin County deputies and Minneapolis police officers will no longer hand out citations to drivers with broken tail lights and blinkers.

Instead, they will give vouchers to have the lights fixed at one of the repair shops that take part in the Lights On! program.

Both Minneapolis PD and Hennepin County Sheriff's Office have joined the program, which is funded by Minneapolis-based nonprofit MicroGrants.

By providing help in the form of vouchers instead of citations to drivers, the program is designed to reduce the disproportionate impact a broken brake light can have on low income motorists.

Previously, Hennepin County deputies would issue "Fix it tickets," and those who failed to fix a broken light after getting a ticket would run the risk of having their license suspended, which in turn heightens the risk of them losing their jobs too.

"Fixing minor issues such as a broken brake light can go a long way towards breaking the cycle of poverty," said Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson on Wednesday.

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"These vouchers lead to safer cars on the road and better interactions between law enforcement officers and the public. Most importantly, by avoiding tickets, we're preventing a ripple effect that can seriously affect the financial stability of low-income individuals."

Hennepin County's involvement in the program is effective immediately. Minneapolis will follow on Saturday, with coupons issued in lieu of traffic citations 

KSTP reports that MicroGrants has raised $1 million for the program in private donations and grants, with repairs up to $250 covered by it.

The TV station notes the average cost to have a bulb repair is $43.

You can find a list of participating repair shops here.

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