There aren’t many people who go through their lives without getting at least a few traffic tickets or warnings. Many people believe that traffic tickets are just a method that state and local governments use to raise revenue. This belief often occurs alongside the belief that increasing traffic tickets in an area has little to no effect on the safety of drivers in that area.
However, these are just opinions. A study conducted around 2008 and just recently released looked into both of these beliefs to find out if either of them were accurate.
Are Governments Just Looking for Money?
Researchers decided to investigate whether areas that were having economic troubles had higher rates of traffic tickets. In order to determine if a town was suffering economically, certain area governments had asked for “override referendums” which would give them the ability to collect more revenue from their citizens. These referendums are proposed when an area needs to generate more revenue, so it is a good indication that a town could be having trouble.
It turns out that everyone who says traffic tickets are used as a way to generate revenue may have been right all along. Areas that had put forth override referendums actually did issue more tickets and higher fines to out-of-town drivers than towns that were not having financial difficulties. It goes to show that areas will crack down on traffic violations if they need money, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the crackdown promotes harm.
Is Safety Increased?
The second belief is that increasing traffic tickets has little effect on the safety of drivers. If this were true it would mean increasing traffic enforcement is just a ploy from the government to earn money with no other underlying reason. Unfortunately for naysayers this was not found to be the case. Increased traffic citations in an area, even if for greedy purposes, actually do decrease traffic accidents and injuries. It turns out that when a town increases traffic tickets, there is a decrease of 5.5% in the number of traffic accidents.
Governments Can Save Lives
So the people who believe traffic tickets are just a money racketeering scheme are only half right. If increasing traffic citations saves lives and reduces accidents, why is it only when a town is broke that they do this? There should be a constant effort to reduce traffic accidents, which will in turn obviously save lives and prevent injuries. If increasing the number of tickets is the way to accomplish this, then it should be done even when a town is economically booming. In fact, when towns are doing well, they most likely have more people on the streets, so it’s even more important for well-off areas to crack down on traffic violations.
Traffic tickets and safety have always been a contentious issue. It is now a fact that even though towns may only increase traffic citations when they are financially burdened, this increase does lower traffic accidents and traffic related injuries. Local leaders should pay heed to these findings. It turns out that increasing citations is a great way to earn money and save lives.