The big, big business of traffic fine violations / by kevin murray

The first thing to know about traffic tickets in the United States, is that a given driver's susceptibility to receive such a ticket, is dependent not only upon the State that the drive in, not only upon the city streets that they frequently drive upon, not only upon the make and model of their vehicle, and not only upon their age and race, but perhaps the most salient fact of them all, is the given municipality that the vehicle is driving within and their priority of writing tickets to those drivers that ply their streets.


In point of fact, no matter how much police agencies, cities, counties, municipalities, States, and so on talk about how their police officers do not have quotas for the writing of traffic tickets, in almost every jurisdiction in America, there are most definitely, if not directly in name, quotas for ticket writing, assigned to each officer that drives a vehicle and earns a salary, of which, we know this by virtue of the simple fact, that municipal budgets are built around the collection of traffic ticket fines each year, in which, that allocation of budgetary money set aside for the collection of those fines, must be met, or there will be a shortfall in the overall budget.


According to "…roughly 41 million speeding tickets, which is over $6 billion dollars each year," will be collected throughout the United States, each year, just for speeding, so that the issuance of these tickets is a very big business, and some small towns have earned quite a notoriety by deliberately targeting out-of-town vehicles that are traveling within its domain by issuing the drivers of those vehicles, tickets, so as to meet their fiscal budget in order to have a viable and sustainable law officer presence within that town to begin with.


For the most part, the tickets being written by officers and the high dollar amounts of such fines, not to mention the additional penalties for not paying on time, which subject the driver of such a ticket, to further fines, possible license suspension, court fees, and higher insurance rates, is something that has morphed into being part and parcel of the necessity of having such in order to budget for the police officers on that police force, so that, without police officers collecting enough in aggregate of traffic ticket fines, then such municipal budgets would run a deficit, and police officers, or other areas of governmental services would have to be reduced or eliminated.


This so indicates that traffic citations are a regressive form of taxation, for such tickets are not generated in a progressive manner against the income of those being so ticketed, rather such a traffic ticket fine aligns with the fixed dollar amount per the civic code of the community issuing such a fine, in addition to the unfortunate fact, that those of color, are more often pulled over and ticketed than the percentage of such drivers would necessitate, if all was actually random and fairly applied.


The bottom line is that the issuance of traffic citations has little to do with driver and road safety, but rather instead has everything to do with taxing those that drive along our public roads with monetary citations so as to help aid municipalities in meeting their budgetary concerns, of which, such taxation through these tickets, is unequal, unfairly applied, subjective, arbitrary, and subject to abuse by those that issue those tickets.