Counties slash fees on tickets to allow drivers to get their licenses back

It's estimated more than half a million Florida drivers are driving with a suspended license, many whose license has been suspended because of unpaid tickets.

But this week, people across the state are lining up at their county clerk's office for Operation Green Light, which helps them get back on the road without breaking the bank.

Madison Johnson knows exactly what it's like to see the costs of unpaid tickets go up. She was at the Sarasota County Clerk Monday.

"It's extremely expensive," said Johnson. 

If tickets or court fees aren't paid, Florida law requires clerks to turn them over to a collection agency, where they rack up even more fees. 

"Mine, thankfully waived my late fees and any collection agency fees. That cut my cost by about half. I had about $4,000 in cost and it went to $2,260," said Johnson. 

A judge granted Madison the ability to pay her ticket and fees without the extra add-on costs through Operation Green Light. Thousands across Florida were given the same chance.

"We will allow people to enter into a payment plan and take care of their suspension or we will accept payment in full," said Sarasota County Clerk Karen Rushing. 

Rushing, along with the county comptroller, said the collection fee for Sarasota County is 25%. In other counties across Florida, the fee could be as high as 40%.

"We really want to help those people who have these fees that are attached and make it too difficult to pay," said Rushing.

Operation Green Light is here for a limited time only. In Sarasota County, it lasts all week, with the office staying open till 7 p.m.

In Pinellas County, Operation Green Light begins on Wednesday and they'll be open on Saturday. 

Citrus County is also extending their phone hours until Saturday for those fees and fines to be paid. 

To see if you're county is participating, visit