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Choirboy622

Traffic tickets: Safety or Revenue Enhancement?

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We have all probably driven through speed traps in small towns, and perhaps gotten a ticket or two. Some of the speed traps might even be in larger cities. Some of the factors which determine how aggressive the police are in their enforcement include

1. Who benefits financially from the ticket revenue?

2. Do the officers make a commission, bonus, or have other financial incentives to issue as many citations as possible?

3. Is there an actual quota?

In some areas, of course, the police don't write tickets unless they see a gross safety violation. In other areas, they will write as many as possible just to bring in the revenue.

How is it in your municipality, county, or state?

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Minnesota does not allow commissions or bonuses for citations and quotas are illegal. (Law passed summer 2005).

Also, the cop must be visible to you before he/she can put the lights on, otherwise it is considered entrapment.

Of course, some areas are worse than others for tickets, especially in speed zones on major highways. But generally people slow down enough for the cop not to care.

Many times the cop will just sit on the side of the road to be visible and slow traffic down. It makes lots of people mad, but it shows that they just wants safety on the roads.

Otherwise, it also depends on the road. The main throughway from Minneapolis to Bemidji is heavily traveled because of tourists, and even though it's a 2-lane road with a 55mph speed limit, people often exceed 70mph during the summer and the cops don't blink. Sometimes they'll wait on the side of the road and flash their headlights or something at you to slow down... but tickets are rarely given out.

New regulations have been passed that have raised the speed limit from 55 to 60 on many two lane roads, and with it has become stricter enforcement. It used to be that if it was 55 you could easily go 64 or so before getting pulled over.

Now the government kind of enacted a "We'll take five, and give you five" approach and raised the limit, but are strictly enforcing it, so it's 63 and you're pulled over for sure. Some people have been pulled over for 62 even, but usually that's just a warning.

I'd say for the most part, in small towns, they're revenue producers, though the strict laws on cops keep them from doing some of the shadier things I've seen in other states (waiting at the state border, for example.. Iowa, Colorado.. ahem).

Otherwise, I generally think pulling over excessive speeders that are going faster than traffic should just take the ticket. While I hope I'm not the one getting pulled over, and I've been known to be in a hurry... if you're obviously breaking the law, then you should pay. (THough, I believe tickets should be tied to income because it's not fair that a billionaire can just pay it while many poor drivers are strapped for cash if they get a ticket)... Or place more emphasis on tarnishing the driving record.

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It's all revenue, very, very rarely do they enforce speed limits due to safety. They just want to bust balls and milk some money...

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Most cops say safety, but I have to say a lot of it is harassment. Where I'm from, in Milpitas, CA, they are known to profile. They almost never pull anybody over in a Toyota Camry, but if you have a Honda Civic ricemobile, or a loud Mustang (like I had... :blush: ), boy you better plan on being followed and pulled over for even the smallest thing. The speed limits are almost always artificially low, too. Also, I know at school they will give out some of the most frivolous parking tickets. I've never gotten one, but I have commented to the cops before that they might want to be out catching real criminals instead of harassing us kids who can't really afford a parking ticket and really aren't doing anybody any harm.

And cops wonder why people give them attitudes these days.

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In Wisconsin, all speed limits are set artificially low. This is obviously so the police can pull drivers over and write them tickets for travelling at a reasonable and prudent speed, albeit above the legal limit. There is big money to be made on tickets in Wisconsin. Most of the fines, after court costs, are deposited back into the department of the officer who issued the ticket. Tickets are a large source of revenue for police in Wisconsin. Although few police officers would ever admit that they have a quota, I suspect that the officers have some financial incentive to issue as many tickets as possible within a certain period of time.

On the rural interstates and other divided, limited access highways, the speed limit is 65mph. The state patrol has primary responsibility for these highways, but it is not at all uncommon to see county sheriffs and even township police on the interstates operating speed traps. On rural two lane roads, it is 55mph, unless posted otherwise. But in incorporated cities and villages, the default speed limit is 25mph, even if the street is a wide, four lane street which could easily acommodate a speed limit of 35-40mph. The police are usually sitting in hiding, waiting to pounce as soon as someone drives by travelling at 5-10mph above the posted limit.

When I was in Minneapolis last winter, I had to take a taxi to another location in St. Paul. The cabbie asked me where I was from. I told him, to which he replied "Wisconsin is the speed trap capital of the Midwest!"

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Where I live, speed traps are illegal, and any tickets written in them become inadmissable in court.

1. Who benefits from the ticket revenue? - In my city, the local government recieves the bulk of the ticket, as a way to help pay for road projects, sewar, and water projects. In a way, it goes to a good cause.

2. Do the officers make a commission, bonus? - The answer is no. No cop makes any money off of a ticket, and there is no such thing as a quota. Any cop that does make money off of a ticket is subject to criminal investigation.

3. Is there an actual quota? - No, absolutely no.

I really have no problems with cops in my area. Most are pretty leniant towards tickets, by issuing a warning the first time, and then on another offense will usually issue a ticket. As long as you're respectful, they'll treat you right.

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In Minnesota speed limits are as follows:

Interstates: 70mph, min. 40mph (most drive in the upper 70s to near 80.)

Divided highways: 65mph maximum (70mph is the normal speed of traffic)

Rural two ways: 60mph on some, 55mph on most (right near 60 on the 60s, and 60-63 or so on 55s)

In town: 30mph unless otherwise posted.(35-40 is normal) Some towns in southern Minnesota have 25mph speed limits, while most others have the default 30mph.

Some bigger roads in towns might have anywhere between 30mph-50mph.

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Does anyone know about Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan? In the times which I have travelled through each of those states, I don't usually see very strict enforcement of speed limits.

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I think the threat of getting a ticket keeps most traffic moving at "non-insane" speeds. However, I know of many 1-cop towns that all the cop does is write traffic citations. Definetly a "revenue enhancement." I got a ticket last November right before Thanksgiving on a stretch of highway I was unfamiliar with. The speed limit went from 55 to 45 for a one mile stretch then back to 55. I received a ticket for 63 in a 45 and also was told for $50 dollars I could go to a Saturday class to get the points "deferred", plus court costs. Of course, if you get another ticket those points "re-appear." Since I drive 50K+ miles per year, I paid a laywer $300 to completey get rid of the ticket.

So, I'm going to say a little safety but mainly revenue!

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No state can be worse than South Carolina for traffic enforcement! I would pat the back of a law enforcement officer (maybe respect too) the day he/she ever writes a ticket that was purely a safety violation because otherwise, they are always out for revenue, ALWAYS!

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All it is, is an unfair way to produce revenue. Monetary penalties should be very low for tickets, but it should hit you on your driving record.

Revenue that cities lose from the reduction in fines should be made up with local government aid levied by the state through the income tax, which is a much better way to collect revenue.

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^

I think the fines discourage reckless and careless driving. I don't think tickets would be as effective if you simply got something put on your record, with no fine. A fine teaches drivers, especially kids that speeding and careless driving is no laughing matter.

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Does anyone know about Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan? In the times which I have travelled through each of those states, I don't usually see very strict enforcement of speed limits.

Illinois has wlways struck me as being pretty strict. I've been to Bloomington-Normal and Peoria, both of which are strict and have unecessarily low speed limits (IE, 25-35mph on a 4-lane road is not uncommon). Bloomington-Normal would have to be the worse of the two though. I have been to Chicago as well, but never driven there, although I'd imagine it's much the same.

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Does anyone know about Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan? In the times which I have travelled through each of those states, I don't usually see very strict enforcement of speed limits.

I got pulled over in the UP of Michigan in 1992 or so, the cop was going the other way and whipped around, getting me with a radar gun as he drove opposite me. Everyone one the planet knows 3 things: 1) it isn't accurate that way, 2) it's BS to begin with, 3) if you get pulled over out of state, it isn't prudent to fight the thing and have to travel for court, you just pay it. I hate that out of state people get treated like victims...

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I hate that out of state people get treated like victims...

You would hate I-95 south of Richmond, VA then if you are driving with CT plates

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Try California tags anywhere in the other 49...they seem to be a favorite target

Over New York & New Jersey tags... i doubt that!

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In NC on I-85 and I-95, if the police see a Florida, NY, or New Jersey tag; I think they automatically think drug runner!

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Try California tags anywhere in the other 49...they seem to be a favorite target

Been pulled over going 72 in a 75 because we had California plates (my friend and her husband live in California because her husband is a marine).

I was also driving my friends home one time. It's a 4 hour drive from Minneapolis to Bemidji.. and we were running late because of traffic and their plane was late. We were supposed to be home by 9pm for a party that the whole family was throwing because my friend had just gotten home from Iraq after 8 months over there.

We were speeding. It was dark and I was going 72 in a 55.. and this car came up behind me and threw the lights on. Our immediate reaction was "Oh sh*t".. well, the cop came up.. I had my license and registration ready.

He said, very deliberately "I pulled you over because you were speeding. Do you know about how fast you were going?"

I said "72"

He said "That's exactly right. Where you headed?"

I said "Bemidji"

He said "Any particular reason to get there so fast?"

I said "I'm bringing my friend here home for a welcome home party, he just got back from Iraq."

The cop took his flashlight and shined it in the backseat and asked "Was it rough over there?"... my friend responsded "yes it was, sir".. i knew immediately I wouldn't get a ticket.

The cop shined his light on me and said "Hey.. you have more important things to do tonight. You gotta get this guy home. Have a good night."

He turned around and drove the other direction.

I know it's not fair to have gotten off because of the Iraq card... but hey, it was the sole reason for driving that fast at night on a country road (72 against a solitairy dear can do wonders for fender re-adjusment). And if I had been the cop, I would have done the same thing.

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In Shreveport, it's about safety. The police in the city just don't have time to watch for speeders, so you can almost always get away with flying 80-90 in the passing lane until you come across that one doofus who doesn't understand why it's called a "passing lane." Only recently did Shreveport start cracking down on speeders, mostly along I-49 (central city freeway) and 3132 (inner loop freeway.) One city councilman approached the council and police department about the speeding problem and they instituted an immediate crackdown that lasted for a few weeks. Other than that, they stay busy with the daily armed robberies and shootings.

In Bossier City it's a good mix, but mostly revenue for a growing city.

In the town I live in, population about 2,500 it's all about revenue. It's nothing for me to pull off my street, onto the main highway, and find a cop actually parked up in the trees off the side of the road, running radar.

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I recently got a ticket on a highway here in PA. Here's the story. I merged onto the highway coming out of a rest area, and admittedly it wasn't a very good merge. Apparently a cop in an unmarked car saw me and decided to follow me. Well everyone was speeding so naturally I was too. He waited until he caught me going a good speed and then put on his lights. This was after following me for a few miles. He claimed that when I merged I "almost caused an accident." Well what I would like to know is why he didn't pull me over right away then. I suspect he was greatly exaggerating. He said another car blew its horn at me, but neither I nor my passenger ever heard a horn.

The fact that he was following me (practically tailgating) in an unmarked car, and pulled me over for speeding when everyone around me was speeding, then claimed I was driving recklessly.... it all made me feel kind of picked on. He even had the nerve to ask me if I saw him. Um, yeah dude, I saw you, but how would I know you were a cop? I thought you were some jerk tailgating :wacko:

So I guess what I am saying is, I did not feel that I was pulled over for a safety issue (even though the cop claimed it was). I feel that he was looking for someone to follow and would follow them until he caught them speeding.

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it really depends on the location and time of day and amount of traffic for whether it's for safety or income.

some people are just stupid and don't care about the other people around them and will fly down small streets with lots of cars and people everywhere. pulling someone like that over is for safety. same goes for the guy on the highway doing about 20 mph more than everyone else weaving in and out of traffic.

but when there's no one on the road, there's no point. it's not for safety.

i once got pulled over in biddeford, maine at 4am. i was driving on this fairly major road to get back to the highway. the speed limit was 25, but for that type of road, it should've been 35 or 40. i was doing about 45 and just as i saw the first speed limit sign, i saw a cop driving the other direction. i watched as he turned around behind me and pulled me over. i was pissed. also, in maine, getting a speeding ticket brings you halfway to the maximum number of points against your license, or at least that's what the letter said that i was sent in the mail. i was also the only person on the road at this time. i was driving from uconn (left there at 1am) to farmington, maine (got there at 6am) and had to make a stop to drop a friend of at the university of new england. that cop obviously pulled me over because he just wanted to bust my balls and i had out of state plates in a college town.

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My brother and I used to call the Grand Rapids Police Dept. the Grand Rapids Death troopers. Of course my brother was a pretty wreckless driver and used to get pulled over all the time.

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