Traffic Ticket Costs – Statistics

LawGuru Answers

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the majority of Americans out on the road are not aware of just how much it can cost them when they are pulled over for a speeding ticket or traffic ticket violation. And based on the type of infraction, not only can insurance premiums rise but they can rise  a significant amount for a serious offense such as a reckless driving charge, as much as 22%, while driving without a license could raise your rates as much as 18%. Factors including the state where you receive your ticket, your age and location will impact your insurance premiums and this doesn’t even address the cost of the fine or penalty itself when you receive a ticket.

There are some options that exist if you want to avoid the insurance premium increases and potentially decrease the fines:

1. Fight the ticket

2. Weight alternate pleas

3. Look into another insurance plan/provider

4. Stay focused, don’t get another ticket

5. Invest in a driving course

It might be advantageous and worth the investment to hire a traffic ticket lawyer that has familiarity with the traffic laws and experienced in traffic courts in the state or county where you received your ticket to assist in handling your speeding ticket.

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Cleveland Browns Football Player Caught Speeding

Josh Cribbs, Cleveland Browns football player and the NFL’s all time kickoff return touchdown leader, twice selected to play in the pro bowl, was caught in his 2010 Bentley on I-71, going 102 in a 60 mph zone According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer Cribbs tweeted about the incident twice and commended the officer who pulled him over for doing his job. Also reportedly, Cribbs treated the officer with respect and was remorseful of his offense.

To read the story visit the link below.

Josh Cribbs Speeding Ticket Story (Cleveland Plain Dealer 3/9/12)

North Carolina Judge Suspended for Fixing Friend’s Traffic Tickets

According to a recent news article, the North Carolina Supreme Court suspended Forsyth District Judge Hartsfield for 2 1/2 months for fixing traffic tickets for friends, including members of her church congregation and her law school students.

The investigation of misconduct on the part of Judge Hartsfield began in 2008 after a large amount of citations were found in a briefcase that belonged to a former clerk. According to court records, Judge Hartsfield and the clerk, Jason Pollard worked together in handling the ticket fixing for friends and family.

In September 2011, the judicial standards commission made the recommendation for suspension of Judge Hartsfield after discovering she improperly entered judgments in at least 82 cases.

The suspension of Judge Hartsfield by the NC Supreme Court was only the second since 2007 when the punishment was first allowed.

North Carolina Traffic Laws

 

Dallas’ Red Light Cameras may Face Changes as Revenue Estimate Drops

Initial gross revenue estimates for the red light camera system during Dallas’ 2007-08 fiscal year were $14.8 million, according to city records. The latest estimate? About $6.2 million. City Manager Mary Suhm on Friday estimated net revenue will fall $4.1 million under initial estimates.

That leaves Dallas government with a conundrum. Its red-light camera system has been an effective deterrent to motorists running red lights – some monitored intersections have experienced a more than 50 percent reduction. But decreased revenue from red light-running violations means significantly less revenue to maintain the camera program and otherwise fuel the city’s general fund.

Exacerbating the drain is a new state law requiring that municipalities send half of their net red-light-running camera revenue to Austin and post signs alerting drivers of upcoming camera installations. Also, city records indicate Dallas has lengthened yellow-light intervals on 12 of its 62 monitored traffic signals, giving motorists more time to beat a red light.

City transportation officials say they’re brainstorming potential changes to the red-light camera program, which is financed by the general fund, before a planned update to the City Council next month on the program’s status.

“We did not anticipate having such success so early with the number of people not running red lights,” said Zaida Basora, Dallas’ assistant director of public works and transportation. “If you have success in safety, you don’t have a lot of success in revenue. The other side is the people will go back to what they were doing before without the cameras.”

source

Driver Sues Over Radar Van Tickets in California

New Hampshire motorists who use drive time to chat on the phone, read the paper or apply makeup may want to San Jose, California – A driver nailed by a roving radar truck in San Jose is taking his case to court in hopes of getting back the money he spent on speeding tickets and increases in insurance costs for himself and others mailed fines by the city.

The city killed the program that put white radar photo vans on the streets to cut down on speeding after questions were raised in 2006 about the legality of having city engineers – not cops – write citations.

But that was after officials had issued about $5 million worth of tickets through the decade-old program. In 2006 alone, San Jose issued 7,000 tickets using the radar vans that took photos of a speeding car’s license plate and driver. Notices of the violations were then sent to the vehicle’s registered owner.

Jorge Luis Ramirez’s attorney contends that since the tickets were illegal, the city should pay back what it got from the program. Attorney James McManis filed the lawsuit in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Monday.

“They have this illegal program,” he said. “They should do the right thing” and pay back those who were charged under the program.

City Attorney Richard Doyle had not seen the lawsuit as of Monday afternoon, but he said the city didn’t know the program was illegal when it ran it. As soon as officials learned that the state Legislature was questioning such programs, he said, the city stopped using the radar vans.

“It was a program that everyone had operated in good faith,” he said.

Doyle said the courts sanctioned the program because judges and commissioners signed off on the tickets when they were brought to court. People who questioned the legality of the program, he said, could have appealed.

Ramirez was twice ticketed by the radar vans – both times for going less than 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. He paid the tickets but later decided to bring the suit after friends told him it was unusual to be cited for such a small infraction

Leslie Griffy, MercuryNews.com

Toughest States On Distracted Drivers

Focus on the road in New Hampshire.

In that state, if you cause harm to another vehicle or a pedestrian while engaged in an activity behind the wheel, you face a maximum fine of $1,000 and lose your license for up to a year.

“This is a good deterrent to have on the books,” says Peter M. Thomson, coordinator of New Hampshire’s Highway State Agency. “I travel 65 miles to work, on Interstate 93, and I see a ton of distracted drivers. You name it, and I have seen it. It drives me crazy to see people trying to drive with a full plate of food on their lap while trying to steer with their knees.”

New Hampshire’s no-nonsense law carries the greatest fine and penalty of the nine states with the harshest laws for distracted drivers on our list.

Distraction Equals Accidents

Almost 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds of the event, according to the 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study, conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and released in April 2006.

The most common distraction cited was cellphone use (followed by drowsiness).

Bans on using a handheld cellphone while driving are in the works in several states, including California, which on July 1 will become the latest state to ban cellphone use, joining New York, Washington, D.C., Connecticut and New Jersey–though hands-free phones will still be permitted. This will be a primary offense, meaning police officers can ticket motorists talking on a handheld phone even if they haven’t violated other traffic laws.

Connecticut bans the use of handheld cellphones, yet goes a step further by prohibiting the use of other electronic devices, such as personal digital assistants. New Jersey does the same and adds text messaging to its list of specific offenses. Washington State banned text messaging in January and, come July 1, will prohibit the use of handheld cellphones in general.

Ohio is the only state on the list that doesn’t ban using cellphones while driving. But, in Ohio, it is a primary offense to drive while wearing earphones or earplugs for listening to devices such as iPods or CD players (though ear-in devices for cellphones are permitted). This law has been on the books since 1989. Violators are cited for committing a minor misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of $1,000, says Bradley Shaw, a spokesman for the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The amount of the ticket varies by county and is determined by your driving record, prior convictions and other moving violations.

While other states are debating bans on cellphones, text messaging and other distractions, lawmakers and auto safety agencies continue to review the best ways to deal with people who insist on multitasking while driving.

Like New Hampshire, Utah prohibits multiple activities that it deems distracting, like smoking, eating, drinking and “physically attending to a passenger.” The maximum fine is $50 on top of fines incurred for related moving violations, such as running a red light or causing an accident.

Rules For Hands-Free Phones

No state has entirely banned the use of cellphones while driving; you can still use hands-free wireless devices, but the rules aren’t the same for all drivers. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have various levels of restrictions for all cellphone use, hands-free included, for teens age 18 and younger, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

For now, drivers over the age of 18 with full driving privileges can use hands-free communication devices, even in the states that ban handheld electronics. But this is something that Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington-based consumer watchdog for auto safety and quality founded by Ralph Nader in 1970, is fighting to change.

In March, the CAS filed a petition with the NHTSA, asking the agency to write rules prohibiting the use of interactive systems that allow drivers to have wireless access to e-mails and phone calls. “There is a false perception that hands-free phones are better,” says Ditlow. “Your mind is still off the road and focused on the conversation.”

When Washington’s ban on text messaging goes into effect July 1, it will be a secondary offense; you’ll only receive a ticket if you commit another moving violation, other than speeding. Though the same holds true for distracted-driver laws in several states, it pays to play it safe. In Connecticut and New Hampshire, for example, the fines and license-suspension terms go up with each offense.

However, you don’t have to worry about inadvertently breaking the law when commuting across state lines: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ( www.iihs.org) and AAA publish a state-by-state listing of cellphone bans and distracted-driving laws.

Story by Jacqueline Mitchell, Forbes.com

Traffic ticket defense lawyers.

Police Ready to Enforce Speed Limits in School Zones

Police will be watching school zones for speeders as local schools reopen this month.

Champaign police Sgt. Dave Griffet reminded motorists that speeds in school zones are 20 miles per hour unless otherwise posted.

Champaign elementary schools with a “balanced calendar” are already in session, but the rest will begin Aug. 21.

“Drivers should be attentive to pedestrians in crosswalks in and around the local school,” Griffet said.

Pedestrians should cross at designated intersections and crosswalks when they have the right of way, he said.

Champaign police officers will be posted near school zones to monitor the speeds of vehicles, along with improper lane changes, tailgating or other safety issues, according to Deputy Chief John Murphy.

School patrols will be done with regular shift officers, as well as extra manpower through the Selective Traffic Enforcement Patrol program, which hires back additional officers.

August will also be one of the months for allocation of state grant money to pay for traffic enforcement. Champaign received a grant of $130,000 from the Illinois Department of Transportation to hire back additional officers to target speeding violations on Windsor Road, Church Street, Bradley Avenue and Neil Street.

School for Urbana begins Aug. 27 and 28, depending on grade level.

“We ask motorists to be vigilant not only in school zones, but also in areas where students will be walking to and from school,” said Urbana school spokesman Mark Schultz. “There’s going to be a lot of kids out there.”

Urbana police Lt. Anthony Cobb, patrol supervisor, said extra patrols will be made around schools when they are in session. In addition to speeding violations, police will be watching for drivers who ignore school bus stop-arm warnings and pedestrian crossing issues.

Cobb said most school traffic violations will result in tickets, and some carry heavy fines or possible license suspension.

Article by Steve Bauer

The News Gazette, Champaign Illinois

Fewer Drivers Expected on South Carolina Roads

Despite a recent in gasoline prices, fewer people are expected to travel during the Labor Day weekend than in 2007.

South Carolina gasoline prices have dropped about 11 percent since the July 4th holiday. At $3.44 on Wednesday, it is down 93 cents from the Fourth of July holiday, but higher than 2007 Labor Day weekend prices.

AAA Carolinas has estimated that 352,000 South Carolina drivers will travel more than 100 miles round-trip over the weekend, a less than 1 percent decrease from last year’s statistics. About 70,000 South Carolinians are expected to travel by air. AAA Carolinas, a not-for-profit organization, uses survey research and a forecast model to estimate travel statistics.

In Spartanburg County, average daily traffic counts have historically increased by about 30 percent during the Labor Day weekend, according to figures from previous years.

Gasoline prices have fallen for 39 consecutive days, but most people changed vacation plans to stay closer to home following record high gasoline prices this summer, AAA Carolinas President David Parsons said in a news release.

The S.C. Department of Public Safety has launched a Sober or Slammer enforcement campaign to target drunk and aggressive drivers and those who aren’t wearing seat belts. Last year, there were nine fatalities on South Carolina roads during the Labor Day weekend, and four of those were alcohol-related. None of those occurred in Spartanburg, Cherokee or Union counties.

“The Sober or Slammer campaign not only targets impaired drivers, but we look at everything that has the potential to cause an accident,” Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Scot Edgeworth said.

The Highway Patrol will partner with other law enforcement agencies to conduct safety and DUI checkpoints through the weekend.

“Our goal during this weekend is the same as it as throughout the year, to reduce the number of crashes and fatalities in this state,” the trooper said. “That means cracking down on speeding violations, aggressive driving, seat belt violations and those who choose to drink and drive.”

Other than delays caused by traffic collisions, South Carolina motorists shouldn’t have to worry about delays on the state’s highways through the weekend. S.C. Department of Transportation spokesman Pete Poore said no construction projects are scheduled through the weekend and those that are ongoing will stop midday on Friday and resume Tuesday morning.

Those driving to Atlanta on Labor Day weekend can expect heavy traffic delays where I-85 south meets I-75 south in Georgia because of a major interstate reconstruction project. Delays up to two hours are expected in the area immediately surrounding the Georgia Dome, where Clemson University will play the University of Alabama on Saturday.

About 140,000 people are expected at events in downtown Atlanta over the weekend, including the football game and a marching band competition.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said in a news release that work will begin at 9 p.m. on Friday and the I-85 southbound lane will be reduced to two lanes near I-75, and I-75 southbound will be reduced to one lane at the merge.

The work will continue until early Tuesday, and those traveling from South Carolina on I-85 are urged to take I-285 east to I-20 west to access the Georgia Dome.

Motorists can call 511, a free phone service, for real-time traffic and travel information.

Lynne P. Shackleford
shj.com

South Carolina Traffic Ticket?

Police Think Cameras Reducing Traffic Tickets

The number of speeding tickets issued this year seems to be on the decline. And Tempe police say the city’s speed cameras may be part of the reason.

Tempe contracted with Redflex Traffic Systems to set up 17 cameras and two speed vans throughout the city in September 2007.

From January through March of this year, Tempe had 34,293 violations that resulted in citations or notices. From April through June of this year, there were 26,223.

Sgt. Steve Carbajal, the media-relations sergeant for Tempe Police Department, said cameras are placed in high-collision intersections. He said the cameras were installed because Tempe police “want people to drive reasonably and safely at all times.”

He said that while the citations seem to show the cameras have lowered speeding violations, some drivers simply tend to “slow down and then speed up” around the cameras.

“It’s hard to say what the effect of the program is,” he said.

Tempe residents seem to have mixed emotions about the cameras.

“They are important at some intersections, and they greatly reduce the number of accidents/fatalities,” Arizona State University student Aleksander Robinson said. “I sometimes question the intentions of the state when they place cameras at some intersections. They should only place the cameras in areas where accident rates are high, or where many people get pulled over for speeding.”

Arizona State University student Jason Rivera said he believes such cameras should monitor different driving dangers.

“The cameras don’t catch cars weaving in and out of lanes,” he said.

Traffic or Speeding Ticket in Arizona?

Debate Over Red Light Cameras Flaring Up in Santa Clara County CA

From San Francisco to Santa Cruz to Fremont, nearly two dozen cities in Northern California use cameras to catch drivers who run red lights — and a lot of studies suggest they reduce accidents.

But in Santa Clara County, there is not a single red-light camera, and San Jose police are speaking out against them, partly for fear that they may cause more accidents.

Why? If you know the camera is there, the theory goes, you’re more likely to slam on your brakes at a yellow light, increasing the chances of being rear-ended.

The debate over these devices, which snap a picture of the front and back of any car that enters an intersection when the light is red, came to San Jose City Hall this month, when Deputy Police Chief Don Anders presented a report to council members recommending against installing the cameras on city streets.

“What studies reveal are an awful lot of ambiguity,” Anders said. “As we look around the country and look at red-light running, some jurisdictions have noted a reduction in traffic accident rate and others have noted an increase in their traffic accident rate.”

The recommendation didn’t go over well with some council members. Several have voiced strong support for the cameras, saying red-light crashes can result in severe injuries and are a growing menace to public safety.

“The recommendation is to essentially let it die,” Councilman Sam Liccardo said. “Some of us are eager to keep alive the option.”

San Jose police oppose the cameras for other reasons: They think having a traffic cop at an intersection is more effective, and they say the cost of installing expensive equipment — $50,000 to $100,000 per intersection — can be better spent.

The bigger debate is: Do red-light cameras make streets safer? Most studies indicate yes, but not all.

A New York Times survey three years ago found that rear-end collisions rose nearly 15 percent after traffic cameras were installed in seven East Coast cities, with injuries from such crashes up 24 percent. Stockton saw a similar jump when it began using cameras.

But a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety two years ago said red-light cameras have reduced side-impact crashes by an average of 24 percent and injuries by 16 percent. San Francisco has reported a 50 percent drop in crashes as a result of its cameras, and Fremont has seen a 40 percent decline, those cities report.

“We believe that the cameras are very effective not only in reducing the number of traffic signal-related collisions,” said Fremont officer Geneva Bosques, “but also in educating the public on traffic safety.”

Cupertino is the only Santa Clara County city that has ever used these cameras, but it removed them after a two-year trial period in 2004 because tickets did not cover the $110,000 cost.

Red-light crashes have nearly tripled over the last two decades in California, and one in three crashes at busy intersections is caused by drivers running a red light. In Santa Clara County, such wrecks lead to about 1,200 injuries a year.

Menlo Park installed a camera at Bayfront Expressway and Willow Road earlier this year following the death of Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Halberstam a year earlier. The car in which he was riding ran a red light and was struck in the intersection.

The state vehicle code permits cameras to be used for red-light enforcement, unlike photo radar, which requires an officer to monitor the equipment and sign off on tickets.

Agencies in Santa Clara County aren’t ignoring red-light runners. The county and cities have installed about 100 “rat boxes,” which are small lights attached to the back of a traffic signal that show when a light has turned red. They enable cops to position themselves down the street from the red light, in a place where they don’t have to run the light themselves to catch the offender.

Yet those lights present a problem. A cop must be present, and most traffic units are understaffed. But when police were present at 10 intersections, the San Jose police study found, crashes fell 19 percent.

Installing red-light cameras would require still more officers to sort through the images, identify drivers and deal with claims of mistaken identity That would require hiring or transferring several officers to the traffic unit, and that is unlikely to happen in these budget-tight times.

The police’s opposition to camera enforcement riles some safety advocates.

“There’s no logic for a police department to oppose these cameras,” said Jonathan Adkins, communications director with the Governors Highway Safety Association. “Their use complements traditional enforcement and is not a replacement for police officers. We can’t have a cop at every intersection.”

Article by Gary Richards – mercurynews.com .

CANDID CAMERAS

Here are some of the cities across California that use cameras to catch drivers who run red lights. They snap a photo of both the front and rear license plates, and advanced systems capture the violation on video. The fine is $370, but fees can add nearly $200 to the cost:

Belmont, Berkeley, Capitola, Citrus Heights, Daly City, Fremont, Glendale, Hayward, Los Angeles, Marysville, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Newark, Oakland, Oxnard, Redwood City, Sacramento, San Carlos, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, San Rafael, Santa Cruz, Santa Maria, Stockton and Union City.

Traffic ticket in California?