By James Baxter, NMA President
When it’s 30 degrees below zero you can drive through a school zone at 60 MPH in relative confidence, even if Officer Jones is spraying the street with radar beams. He isn’t about to exit that nice warm car so he can stand outside your car in a 20 MPH wind to issue a ticket.
Those days are over, for the year, and there is lost revenue to be recouped. Spring is traffic ticket season. And, this year may be a real humdinger.
State and local governments are scrambling for more revenue and raising cigarette taxes to $12 a pack just isn’t in the cards this year. Doubly vexing is the effect high fuel costs are having on traffic speeds and discretionary travel.
We are already seeing a significant reduction in enforcement “tolerance.” People are calling us with tickets for five MPH over the posted limit; this indicates slim “pickens” in some areas of the country.
As usual, speeding tickets are the tax of choice, but stop sign violations also seem popular.
Red-light ticket cameras are popping up with growing frequency, but they are a year-round gift that just keeps on giving; as long as the yellow lights remain adequately short. Failure to stop, prior to right turns on red, are a new profit center for the corporate/government ticket camera enterprises that are spreading from coast to coast like a bad fungus.
A few well-worn strategies are still effective at reducing your likelihood of a serious shearing at the hands of the public servants devoted to protecting our welfare:
- Don’t lead the pack that’s flying down the highway.
- Keep your radar/laser detector in place and plugged in.
- Keep your eyes focused well down the road, at least a third of a mile.
- Stay out of the left lane unless you need to pass.
- Check and repair all your vehicle’s external lights and lenses.
- Pay heed to oncoming vehicles flashing their lights, and return the favor when you can.
- Be rigorous about signaling turns and lane changes.
- And, if you do get a ticket, fight it!