There’s an interesting article in the latest Car and Driver Magazine about the economic slow-down’s effect on speeding tickets. Many cities that are feeling the crunch and are experiencing budget problems “look to their Police Departments as a way to cash in.” As a result ticketing has gone way up.
In the Detriot area, where C&D has its headquarters, “the number of moving violations issued has increased by at least 50% in 18 communities…since 2002–and 11 of those municipalities have seen ticketing increases of 90% or more.” SO watch out you motorists out there especially those of you who live in Michigan. A ticket for driving 5 miles over the speed limit in Dearborn Heights will cost you $90 and give you two points on your license!
The interesting thing about all of this is that many local governments depend on the revenues they get from people speeding. When they need more money they look to the police. This has changed the nature of your local police station from primarily being there to enforce traffic laws
in order to protect you to enforcing laws in order to make money. James Tagnanelli, president of the Police Officers Association of Michigan union, says, “A lot of police chiefs will tell you the goal is to have nobody speeding through their community, but heaven forbid if it should actually happen – they’d be out of money.”
“Police Chief Michael Reaves of Utica, Michigan, says the role of law enforcement has changed over the years. ‘When I first started in this job 30 years ago, police work was never about revenue enhancement, but if you’re a chief now, you have to look at whether your department produces revenues,’ he says. ‘That’s just the reality nowadays.'”
I think this is very ironic. The police and the government have built their budgets around the fact that we do not and will not obey the speed laws. They not only expect us to break the law, they need us to break the law. I thought it was interesting that even though the law is intended to curb behavior, it does not, and because of that the intention has changed to now actually count on people breaking it.