By on January 20, 2009

Or so argues a study from Science Daily (via The National Motorists Association). Thomas Garrett, assistant vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and Gary Wagner from the University of Arkansas Little Rock, looked at revenue and traffic citation data from 96 North Carolina counties collected from 1990 to 2003.. Their conclusion is that as the economy weakens, local governments seek to replace lost tax revenue with increased traffic tickets. “There is ample anecdotal evidence that local governments use traffic tickets as a means of generating revenue,” wright Garrett and Wagner. “Our paper provides the first empirical evidence to support this view.” How? According to the data, “a one percentage point decrease in last year’s local government revenue results in roughly a 0.32 percentage point increase in the number of traffic tickets in the following year.” Though they admit that the numbers seem small, Garrett and Wagner call them “statistically significant,” noting that they controlled for demographic and economic differences in the sample. The study will be published in the Journal Of Law And Economics, and will shock readers who haven’t read TTAC’s coverage of the ongoing speed camera nightmare.

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7 Comments on “A Weak Economy Means More Traffic Tickets...”


  • avatar
    brianmack

    Doesn’t a weak economy also mean less traffic? Fewer people in the workforce, less disposable income, etc.?

    My drive times have been getting quicker lately. Not a huge change, but probably about 5-10% faster.

  • avatar
    bluecon

    They need to find some way to pay for the UAW golf course.

  • avatar
    jackc10

    Some jurisdictions may take the approach Jacksonville, Florida has done. They put untrained and unsupervised Community Service Officers (CSO) out operating laser devices they do not set up according to protocol and take 45 minutes out of your day to issue the citation that in any case, is probably undeserved.

    I presume these people could not pass the Police Academy Entrance Test and cost Duval County less than a real cop. At least a real cop might read the laser set up instructions.

    It appears the economic plan is these CSO’s will soon tire of writing tickets and go back to work at McDonalds, thus saving Duval County SO pension and other costs.

  • avatar

    From: Supt of Police
    To: Zone Units

    Re: Traffic Safety

    All Units:
    The Governor is quite pleased at the progress we have made in the past year in making our State roads safer. We have been requested to continue our level of enforcement and find ways to make the State’s highways even safer in the year to come.

    Additional overtime money has been authorized to be spent in what ever way the local Zones see fit.

    Signed:
    The Brass Upstairs.

    (translated:get the boys out there writing, we have money for extra “details” (radar traps)

  • avatar

    I wanna see a national constitutional amendment that wherever the money comes from, it goes right back into education and safety measures (such as synchronizing traffic lights) instead of going into the fackin’ general fund. Drug bust, fines go to anti-drug education, and court rehab programs, not a penny for the crooked politicians.

    Social Security taxes no longer used to prop up the government (are they strictly separate, or do they count them in with other taxes for gov. expenses?)

    Any gas tax goes entirely to maintenance and highway expansion, etc. All lottery proceeds go to schools, etc.

    But all that is a pipe dream.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    Indeed it does mean more tickets as about the same number of people still drive to work.

    In the last three months on my route to work (25 miles), it is being patrolled like never before. One evening recently that I had to work late, on the way home I went past four speed traps within 8 miles. One LEO followed me for several miles just waiting for me to exceed the speed limit. :P

  • avatar
    Matthew Danda

    They just installed a camera on my commute through midtown Kansas City, MO. You can guarantee I will slam on the brakes the instant it turns yellow. I mean, SLAM ON THE BRAKES.

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