If you thought there was no science behind getting a speeding ticket, you're right, kind of… It's probably more of a case of economics. In North Carolina, at least, – where researchers examined 96 counties for a report in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Law and Economics – when local government revenue goes down, ticketing goes up.
Yes we've all said it before: public safety isn't the only motivation for tickets. (Can't you just give me a warning, Officer?) But now there is scientific proof of that long held suspicion.
The study authors, one from the Federal Reserve and one from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, found a very small, but statistically significant correlation between a drop in local government revenue one year, and more traffic tickets the next year. If a county got one percentage point less money, they gave out around a third of a point more tickets.
Data was collected for 13 years starting in 1990, and the analysis corrects for demographic and economic differences in the sampled populations, the authors report. Unfortunately, they also found that if government pockets bulk up again, ticketing does not go back down. So in the current economic crisis, and after, make sure you keep your driving wits about you.
it's a shame that this isn't widely publicized....
The irony of it all is that its within our (peoples) power to change the rules... all we have to do is lobby our representatives to change the laws, but alas we are incapable of changing anything as a mass of people, so the special interests win all of the time.
Local law enforcement must be paid if they are to work. We all want more law enforcement on the street (assuming you are not a criminal). Putting police on the street to respond when you have an accident, have your house broken into, your car stolen, or are mugged cost money.
That money can come from one of two places: taxes or tickets. Because we no longer charge the convicted rent for the prison space they take up and food they consume (a practice long overdue for a come back), tickets are the only police driven way of increasing revenue when local politicians reduce or hold their budgets while increasing demands on existing law enforcement.
So, I dare say that most people are rather happy when criminals pay for part of the law enforcement system. Most people, however, are just in denial that they are the criminals when they choose to exceed listed speed limits on publically owned and maintained roads.
I know that anytime I get a ticket (about once every 5 years or so), I have no problem paying the relatively low fine to support the local law enforcement that keeps me safe and remind me to walk (or drive) the straight and narrow.
If you want to know a rip-off, it is that, without accident, the insurance company gets to charge me MANY TIMES that tickets cost in increased premiums for the next few years. Paying them for my crime is nowhere near as satisfying as paying the local police who keep me and my family safe.
"We all want more law enforcement on the street (assuming you are not a criminal)."
I disagree. People are entitled to their own opinions without being called criminals. We have more police presence than is necessary. They are p*mps for the state; money collectors. I protect my own home with Smith & Wesson.
Speed limits are outdated, and based on cars that took over twice as far to stop from 70 mph as today's cars.
Speeding does not make you a criminal either. You are awful fond of labeling people as criminals. God forbid you ever are granted a position of power...
Jaywalkers, criminals, speeders, criminals, naysayers, criminals!!!
I agree with bjsmtu02. Just because you don't wish for more law enforcement presence does not make you a criminal. Our local law enforcement officers don't even hide the fact that they increase tickets and set up speed traps to pay for new toys. At a recent city counsel meeting the Chief of Police said they were purchasing new firearms and patrol cars and stated they would simply issue more tickets to pay for them. What exactly was wrong with the patrol cars and firearms they currently were issued was not discussed, only that they "wanted" new ones.
Sorry I haven't read the article for the simple fact that just seeing over the years how they change fines and what happend to me, that it has always been about money!!! A little over a year ago I had to goto the keys for a court hearing, I had a no dive flag ticket, I had pulled off to the side of the road to check out the water at a shore where about 30 people where swimming and playing in the water but because I had a mask on I was nailed for no dive flag 10 feet from the shore!
Paid the ticket through the mail, never heard anything until 2 years later then I'm being charged with a misdemeanor, I couldn’t fight it cause after all that time I had lost any proof it was paid,to make it go away I had to plead guilty and pay 210.00 plus 75.00 for what was a 50.00 fine over hundred people did the same thing that day, the judge told the people to just pay the fine and it will be over, so there you go money. Yea I should have kept a copy of the money order in a safe place but the point is still there, It’s all about money!
Of course law enforcers need to be paid, but when they on their own get to decide how much money they are going to collect in citations, then we have to expect them at some point to abuse that power. The police need some sort of oversight to be sure that they do not morph into an extortion racket. My own story involves a ticket for piloting an unlicensed "powered craft" on a lake in Kansas (it was a wind-surfer!). I paid the ticket to the county. Later I got a menacing threat in the mail from the neighboring county saying that I needed to pay them too because the county line ran through the lake. Happily, by then I had moved to Texas, and I responed with a rude "Nyah Nyah Come and get me" letter. I guess I'll never be able to go back to Kansas again. Small loss.
When I was in the army reserve I had a friend who was a highway patrol officer. I asked him why they seem to stop people for nothing, his answer was eye opening. First thing he told me is that they had a monthly "quota" to fill(dependent on economics) depending on the location they were assigned. Second thing is that their priority is to stop cars that are "ticket baits" eg. sport cars, tinted windows(although tints can be removed up to 7 days after the ticket is issued to get a cancellation, they found out that actually few people remove them), modified exhausts, modified lighting, in short anything that has a high fine value. There is a no warning policy even if the person is a first time offender, in fact they can even get fired if they let someone go with a warning. Of course this is in Puerto Rico, I don't know if this applies in the US.
bjsmtu02 - By the statement "We all want more law enforcement on the street (assuming you are not a criminal)." I was clearly not implying that "naysayers" were criminals. We do have clear freedoms of speech and thought. Your "jaywalkers" and "speeders," however, are criminals. People who break the law are criminals. That is pretty much the definition of the word.
If you have a problem with the local speed limit, that does not give you the right to break it. There are legal chanels for challenging and changing such things.
In a perfect world we would not need laws. People would just do what was wise and reasonable. People, however, are not wise and reasonable, so they must have laws to limit them and punishments to enforce them. No one ever agrees with the laws they break, only the ones they keep. Thus, that speed limit exist specifically for those who think it does not, and they should be punished, just as the laws against murder exist for those who murder, and they should be punished. The murderer feels that the laws does not apply to him in the moment he murders, the speeder feels the same about his speeding.
If you obey all the laws, you welcome the police. If you break the laws, you tend to feel worried or guilty (probably moreso worried in your case). If every time you see a cop car you flinch and go for the break, then you KNOW that you are doing wrong and are only worried about facing the lawful punishment for your crimes.
I, personally, want as many cops out their protecting my home, car, and, above all, family as possible. They never bother me, because I generally do not break the law. If I do, I pay my fine and go on as an upstanding citizen with my debts to society paid. If tickets help catch my wife's murderer or get my car back, then that is great! If you are unwilling to pay them, then follow the posted speed limits until you can convince your local government to raise them.
Walo - Police stateside often do have quota as well, and do tend to profile cars. Most people who get offended by quotas would have no problem with the police limiting the number of speeding tickets given per month. The honest answer is that EVERYONE speeding should get a ticket EVERYTIME (just as every other crime should). I dare say that if the limits were so inforced, they would not be so ignored.
High profile pulls are, however, for more than just ticket bait. People in many of the vehicles you mentioned (particularly tinted window, modified exhaust, and the like) are more likely to be engaged in other illegal activity (racing, drug use or transport, etc). Yes, there are honest hobiest, but they are the exception, not the rule. Since "routine traffic pulls" (usually speeding) are one of the primary ways that law enforcement finds and seizes drugs in transport, a day of pulling people for speeding often draws greater rewards for society.
PS - My house is also guarded by my good buddy "12 gague pump," and yet I still find the officer who lives across the street and the regular patrol a comfort, not a liability.
Tickets shouldn't go up since the state or city fails to make money. Isn't that the government fault. Thats like me saying, "since I didn't make enough money this year the government is gonna have to dish out for me. Why that sounds selfish.
Is the state not creative enough for alternate revenue?
Here in California they have place red light cameras. Now thats creative, fair and making a bunch of money for the cities. The CRIMINAL gets busted and billed all with out the hassle from a super ego gun toten cop. Don't get me wrong, cops are great when there truly fighting crime. But the fight against speeders is a battle to never be won! Why? cause even off duty cops do it!!!
CRIMINAL = some who intentionally breaks the man made law.
Common robot. Not everyone is a criminal!
This article is like paying $500,000 to find out why kids fall off of tricycles. Speeding tickets are unwarranted road use taxes. Statistically 66% of all traffic accidents are the result of someone going too slow.
I have paid my share of speeding fines all 11 of them.
It is rediculous that there was a study to find this stuff out. Just like the holidays more cops more tickets.
We have cops standing on the side of the road in our town clocking people then when they see a speeder thy step out in front of them in the middle of traffic to get them to pull over.
Either you stop or run them over then it is another fine.
There are a few problems with tickets that I will outline. These are unfair and there is nothing to debate about whether they are unfair or not, so don't try. If you do try, I and everyone here will know you are either law enforcement or the kind of person that loves to punish people.
1. A police officer should NOT have the ability to give some people tickets and others warnings. They should either have to give out all warnings or all tickets. An offense is an offense is an offense. I was stopped for going 15 over and got a ticket for 15 over. The next day a woman I know was stopped at the same place going 25 over and got off with a warning. I wasn't impolite or anything like that, but that shouldn't matter. A person that treats the cop nicely and one that treats him like crap should get the same ticket. Each offense should be treated fairly and that means no unfair biases or arbitrary judgements on who deserves a ticket.
2. Not everyone is treated fairly in court. If you have pull with a judge or are LE or family of LE you don't have to worry about tickets or you get a smaller fine/penalty. If you get a lawyer you get a better deal also. This is skewed for people with money and that is not fair. What happens is people who are poor get treated much less fairly and get a much higher penalty than someone who is better off financially. If I make 10,000 dollars a year and have a 200 dollar ticket that is 2% of my yearly income. If I make 200,000 dollars a year that's only .01 of my yearly money. It isn't fair and If I can't afford a lawyer or if the judge decides he doesn't like me for an arbitrary reason my insurance sky-rockets. So, it's not fair. It should be progressive based on the amount of money you have to pay or there should at least be options on how to pay the fine. For instance what about somebody with little money gets to do 100 hours community service instead of paying a monetary fine. There is too much leeway for people who are friends or who have lots of money and that makes it very unfair.
3. Tickets should be about safety, not money, and any argument otherwise is BS. "They have to get paid." Pay them with taxes. If they didn't spend most of their time trying to catch people speeding you'd have to have less cops on the street which would be less cost and then the lowered cost would make up for not writing tickets.
4. When there is a monetary motivation to doing something (writing tickets, putting prisoners in jail) it will happen more and it will happen when it otherwise wouldn't. In a case like this, there should either be no discretion on the part of the officer or everyone should get that same discretion. Period.
There is no argument to the above points. They are right, period and outline REAL PROBLEMS in our traffic/criminal court system.