Fighting Budget Deficits With Traffic Fines


Angrifying* story from the A.P.:

Shomari Jennings was willing to pay the $70 ticket he received for driving without a seatbelt, but not the slew of tacked-on fees and penalties that ballooned the cost more than tenfold. Every $10 of his base fine triggered a $26 "penalty assessment" for courthouse construction, a DNA identification program, emergency medical services and other programs…

In Los Angeles, city officials are thinking about doubling red-light cameras to 64 intersections. Last year, 44,000 red-light camera tickets were issued in the city, netting more than $6 million…

The fine for running a red light is nearly $500 when city and county fees combined with various penalty assessments, which are set by the Legislature, and traffic school are factored in. The majority of the red-light camera citations, however, were for making right turns without a full stop, a $381 violation.

It's hard to keep track of all the bullshit public policy going on in this article. A $70 seatbelt violation—which shouldn't be a fine in the first place—grows to over $200 because of "penalty assessments" imposed in part to pay for the pensions and benefits of the public employees who both administer these policies, and who spent the state into oblivion in the first place. Then L.A. wants to make city roads less safe so it can collect more revenue from outrageously expensive red light camera fines.

Also, maybe I'm just not up to snuff on the latest traffic cam technology, but how is a red light camera that captures a stationary photo able to identify a motorist who failed to come to a complete stop before making an otherwise legal right turn?

(*Yes, I made this word up.)