Traffic Tickets Are Big Business

Traffic tickets are a multi-billion industry. They have virtually nothing to do with highway safety, but they have everything to do with money.

When you begin to grasp the full magnitude of the public and private interests that depend on ripping off motorists through traffic tickets, you begin to understand why this unethical system continues to expand every year.

No one knows how many traffic tickets are actually issued. Many local units of government deliberately hide this information so they don’t have to split their traffic ticket revenue with the state. Not including parking tickets, we can estimate that somewhere between 25 and 50 million traffic tickets are issued each year. Assuming an average ticket cost of $150.00, the total up front profit from tickets ranges from 3.75 to 7.5 billion dollars.

If just half of these tickets result in insurance surcharges (typically at least $300 over a period of three years), you can add another 3.75 to 7.5 billion dollars in profit for insurance companies. This is why insurance companies “care” so much traffic “safety” programs and are willing to donate millions of dollars worth of radar and laser guns to the police. For them, it’s simple: more tickets equal more money!

Realistically, there is no connection between receiving an occasional traffic ticket and the likelihood of being in an accident. So, there is no justification for charging a person more for auto insurance because they were convicted for a random traffic violation. The purpose of insurance is to cover unusual risk. The act of exceeding an unreasonably low limit is hardly an “unusual risk.” That means speeding ticket surcharges are pure profit for the insurance industry.

In total, we’re talking about 7.5 to 15 billion dollars annually from tickets for government agencies and insurance companies. That’s more money than several states take in from all taxes! Worse still, that total doesn’t even include the money that “traffic schools,” attorneys, radar-detector manufacturers, and scanner producers make.

To keep the money coming in those that benefit from traffic ticket revenue have to do several things:

  1. Pass enough laws so that anybody can be stopped at anytime and be given a ticket for a traffic violation. Trivial or concocted traffic law violations are also frequently used as an excuse to stop, detain, and search persons for whom the police have no other legitimate reason to do so.
  2. Blow out of proportion the effects of various traffic violations. They constantly talk about “carnage” on our roads, despite the fact that we have the lowest level of traffic fatalities in history.
  3. Maintain a public relations campaign that claims traffic tickets are only given to bad drivers, and that these drivers should pay for the cost of enforcement. This is how you make it appear logical that the police and courts are funded through traffic ticket receipts.
  4. Keep the ticket prices below the pain threshold that would compel motorists to aggressively contest traffic citations in court. They know that if fines got too high, motorist would fight heir tickets, and trials eat up all the profit.
  5. Remove as many due process protections for traffic law offenders as is politically possible. This not only further discourages people from contesting their tickets, but it also ensures that those that do will have a much more difficult time defending themselves.

The police enforce laws that result in direct benefits to police agencies and personnel. Judges hear cases in which a “guilty” verdict would have tangible financially rewards for the court and courthouse personnel. No other class of “crime” is as profitable for state and local governments as is that of traffic tickets. Traffic courts cannot be fair and unbiased when their financial welfare depends on traffic fines. Additionally, local government encourage traffic enforcement practices that rip off travelers to support local government services and to reward government employees. Yet these hypocrisies go largely unnoticed.

A few simple changes can radically alter this unjust system:

  1. No court or police department should directly benefit from the collection of traffic fines.
  2. No police department should be permitted to rate its officers based on how many tickets they write.
  3. No local government should retain traffic fines. The money collected in local courts should be transferred to the state and returned via a local aid formula based on population.

Until these changes are made, you should forget the general notion that traffic tickets are fair and traffic courts are just. The entire system focuses on maximizing income. That’s why most of the people who seriously contest a traffic ticket either win or are offered an good plea bargain. They don’t want anyone “making waves“, that would cost them money. That’s yet another good reason why you should fight your traffic ticket!

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Leave a Comment

119 Responses to “Traffic Tickets Are Big Business”

  1. Stephen says:

    Quite right. Police and the local govt. should never get funds from traffic fines it creates a bad conflict of interest.

  2. Douglas Guerra says:

    Unfortunately, the system in the US is completely out of control. Combine money to be made with an apathetic driving public and the result is driving conditions comparable to living in Iran.
    After years of putting up with this corruption and stupidity, I moved to Germany where a drivers guilt must be proven (no picture or video = no ticket) and there are Constitutional privacy protections so insurance companies do not have access to drivers´ records. Couple these with Police and Judges being subject to the same traffic laws they enforce and strong motorist´s groups and drivers who would never accept anything else and the result is a truely just driving environment.

  3. Fritz says:

    Saying that Traffic Tickets Are Big Business is an understatement. It may have started out as a safety effort but it's morphed itself into a business years ago.
    Some of us who have been studying this problem for years know remedies to the problem. But, there's just one BIG problem; get enough drivers motivated to get involved to support and push legislation through the legislative process.
    I can tell you from experience that's a hella'va lot harder than anything you can imagine. I tried twice in Oklahoma to get NMA members organized into a state chapter. It's literally impossible. And as you know NMA members are supposedly people already of that mindset since the NMA is kinda a self lobbying group. Try and get drivers from the general public involved!!
    The problem has a multitude of causes. Many have forgotten their civics lessons from school (if they still teach that). You have to know the gears of government . You can go on blogs, forums, and places like the Speed trap Registry and ask posters a simple question. If you feel so passionate about a subject as speed traps why don't you communicate that to your legislators. Or if I hear someone at work complaining. Once I suggest writing or calling their legislator, it's like I suddenly have the plague. And they come up with zillion excuses.
    None of this happened overnight and it's a ongoing problem for us drivers. Our opponents appeared before state legislatures time after time to generate and support laws in their favor. Every cop belongs to some organization and every municipality does too. In fact many times they have common objectives. Their efforts have proved potent. Members of the driving public have NOT learned this lesson. There's nothing wrong with debating these subjects but the bottom line is that if that's all we do, the cops and municipalities will continue treating drivers like sheep. I'm sorry but I just don't see drivers ever getting their act together. The municipalities and cops realize that and will continue tightening the noose around our necks and fleecing us. I guess we have to remain optimistic but I really don't know how bad it will get or if there will ever be a end in sight. No matter how much drivers get abused it seems as the pain is never adequate enough to motivate them into action. This is a subject that a book can be written on.

  4. Douglas Guerra says:

    Absolutely Fritz! I learned this decades ago when I joined Motorists United. Virtually no one cared what was happening – even those who claimed to be auto enthusiasts. A handful of concerned individuals can´t battle the tremendous money to be made in the USA. This is why I got out. I don´t have enough years left to involve myself in a cause few people wish to be bothered with. Now, I live in a Country which has the VDA, ADAC, AVD, Automotive magazines, Auto Clubs and Government Officials standing up for motorist´s rights and freedoms. Every time I drive the Autobahn, I know I made the right decision. At long last, I am living in the Land of The Free.

  5. Fritz says:

    Douglas, I'm jealous. I can't imagine operating on a road with no speed limits. That would be a once in a life time experience. Of course my understanding is that German drivers don't get their drivers license out of a cereal box of Post Toasties as many drivers in the states seemingly do. You actually need to know how to drive….professionally. That's the way it should be in the states too. Once again the German people, known for the preciseness and disciplined behavior have chosen the correct course for their transportation needs.
    Well, the lack of political will to deal with abusive traffic enforcement is actually rooted in an even larger problem. On a good election day maybe half the registered voters vote. Out of that, only a tiny percentage of them actually communicate with their elected officials. Of course you need to know who they are first…..and for many that's a problem within itself. The vast majority of Americans have become so politically challenged.
    The American people are too busy with their lives to be bothered with making a democracy work. Their to self-indulgent. The blueprint for our government will work ….. but it requires a active, participating citizenry. That's the bug-a-boo kink in the whole system. Consequently lobbyists are all to happy to fill the vacuum created by our citizenrys' lackluster political savvy. We may have only three branches of government according to the Constitution but effectively we have one more……lobbies. Practically every sting the driving public feels is the result of some kind of successful lobby action yet the drivers/citizens just NEVER SEEM TO GET IT! Amazing.

  6. Deputy says:

    I never give a traffic citation for speed unless the person is really flying amongst traffic moving at a steady pace, regardless of it's speed.

    The problems with may traffic tickets is that they ARE revenue in some areas, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

    Think of it like this, you are a small, VERY rural county. Your county has a tax and spend policy but their income cannot match the demand for services. What better way for a sheriff and county board to be re-elected than by deputizing several joe blows and sticking them out on the one piece of interstate highway that goes through your county to generate traffic revenue so that taxes don't have to be adjusted. The only people that suffer are the out of towners and the just passing through vehicles that have no say in local law anyways.

    casting a blanket policy over every LE agency in the country in regards to traffic enforcement is not an accurate way to portray the system. The issue that REALLY needs to be addressed is the fact that people look out for their own asses only. If giving out 100-150 tickets a day over 10 miles of interstate doesn't affect the local people's money, in an area where the only income comes from farming, then nothing is going to change.

  7. Douglas Guerra says:

    Speeding tickets for revenue are an acception rather than the rule?
    To prove this, I have a proposal. Combine all the speeding fines and all of the speeding ticket surcharges insurance companies receive and require them to be sent directly to drivers in randomly selected European Countries as a rebate on the high fuel taxes they now pay.

  8. Small Town Cop says:

    Sometimes I wonder where people do their research. I can only say this about Oklahoma, but any ticket that is written the fines are divied up for several different agencies, including the Police Academy (The 2 larger cities have their own, but most send their officers/ deputies to a centralized academy). Before ranting and reaving, check into how much of the fine your local agency receives. If any town in Oklahoma receives more than 50% of their operating budget from traffic tickets on state highways, the state can take away their right to patrol those roads.

  9. Don C says:

    Would love to do more. Just found out about this site by doing a search after receiving a speeding ticket in a trap. If the public can be made more aware, I think they would get more involved. I'd like to find out more about who receives the money and if officers have to write a quota of tickets….think that should be illegal.
    Ticket I just received was $155 ($120 court costs & $35 fine – weird).

  10. Irritated says:

    Tell me about it. I live in a state where speed traps are patently obvious and everyday people get suckered into tickets ranging from $150 to to $400. Like the gentle man from Germany, I used to live in England and you had to prove speed with evidence (photo or video) and patrol cars were there to serve as a deterrent to speeding and not to make money. If a police officer stopped a vehicle it would be due to the driver going at a very dangerous speed and the usual pattern and even then a speeding ticket is usually the last resort.
    I believe people in the US are too complacent in fighting for what is right. The protection groups are not too effective because every body is not cooperative

  11. Fritz says:

    To the small town cop. I don't know where you've been recently but Oklahoma has temporary lost their Speed trap law because it was subverted by a state legislator, who is a retired OHP, the last legislative session. No less then three or four towns were on probation at the time. They were immediately released from probation when the emergency clause of the bill went into effect. To the amazement of almost the entire legislature, they had passed into law a part of the law rescinded the speed trap law. After scrambling at the very last legislative minute before the session ended this spring they managed to revive the law but it did not include a emergency clause so the new speed trap law will not go into effect until Nov. 1st. So all these little towns have had all summer to feast on the driving public.
    Sir if your so smart about fine money, give us a clue. It's a figure that seems to be elusive for most of us. Further, all the Oklhoma towns that were on probation were there for far more then the fifty percent allowed by the law. Besides, even 50% is a hell'va lot incentive to write more tickets. Oh, and Oklahoma DOES NOT have a law against traffic ticket quota's. If your that far out of touch then no amount of convincing evidence will change your mind anyhow. If having a meaningful dialog means ranting and raving to you then I'm damn glad your not in charge of my right to do so. That's just exactly what you law enforcement types would like for all us (drivers) sheep to do. Sorry, I'm not biting.

  12. Left Blank says:

    For those of you living in states that allow citizen referendums to go into law I propose a referendum reading thusly: "Because the state should not profit from the misbehavior of its citizens then whatever amount of money is collected each year in traffic citations then the following year an equal amount will be deducted from the state's fuel tax." Getting this law on the books will remove the profit incentive from law enforcement and the dangerous drivers will still be punished while the minor infractions will be given a warning ticket.

  13. Fritz says:

    I agree. Removing the profit incentive from traffic citations is a must. Until then we will never see reasonable enforcement. I suggest that all the revenue from traffic tickets go to the school system, esp. drivers training courses. This would still permit drivers to be ticketed and penalized with a fine while helping make better drivers from our young. As long as we allow the enforcing entity to keep all or most of the moneys from that enforcement we will always have abusive enforcement. It's a direct conflict of interest, pure and simple. We have gone to great lengthens in other area's of legality to eliminate even the slightest hint of impropriety from conflict of interest but then we turn right around and permit it on a big time bases when it comes to traffic enforcement. I can't understand that one. Well….I mean….ya I understand the motivation behind it. Where's the brilliant legal scholars on this one? I can see this happening in a third world nation but the good old USA? Where's the moral high ground? Paying a traffic ticket is nothing more then paying a legal bribe.

  14. I'm assuming That is in America.. last year the Ontario government handed out 1.1 million traffic tickets in a province of 10 million people.. That's 1 out of 10 people.. we love our speed

  15. Officer Josh says:

    Ok this is crazy whats the complaint if your not speeding? if you do close to the limit the (average police) will not give you a ticket, usually within 10-15 pending on the area (hwy or city streets) And in most states it is illegal to require police to have quotas. There are power hungry cops out there i know this but most are pretty level headed atleast in my department. So the moral of the story is "if you dont violate a law you dont get in trouble" I have people i lock up complain "this is bullsh#t" they say and other people that dont know why the person is getting locked up always assume that it is bullsh#t. they dont know that they guy broke into a house or beat his kids or wife half to death. I'm just saying whether its speeding or assult your still breaking the law and you deserve to be punished. I mean man give us a break our job is a pain in the butt already.

  16. James Young says:

    Officer Josh writes:

    "if you do close to the limit the (average police) will not give you a ticket, usually within 10-15 pending on the area (hwy or city streets)"

    How are we supposed to know that the officers near us are "average" and not some hot pencil bent on collecting money for his own personal reasons?

    " And in most states it is illegal to require police to have quotas. There are power hungry cops out there i know this but most are pretty level headed atleast in my department. So the moral of the story is "if you dont violate a law you dont get in trouble."

    Quotas frequently exist whether they're called quotas or "performance review" or "productivity measure" or "public contacts" or something else. However, quotas are not the problem. The real issues are the expansive laws used to excuse unwanted and unnecessary intrusion into private matters and the "conviction at all costs" mentality where arrest is conflated with conviction. That is why we have so many innocent men in prison — over 200 convictions for capital crimes exonerated by The Innocence Project at last count. Actual innocence is no guarantee against harassment, arrest or even conviction.

    "I mean man give us a break our job is a pain in the butt already."

    Then I would seriously consider a different profession. As far as breaks go, you made your own bed. . .

  17. Mark says:

    Our Corrupt System.

    When will the people of this country speak as one voice to ALL of the elected officials and say that we the People want this country back. How many of you have been wrongly prosecuted?. How many have been arrested by officers who have manufactured stories?. How long will we continue to be lied to by our Government ?. How long will we allow our Government both Federal and State levels to mislead , embezzle, extort, and steal from the people.

    Look at all the news channels anchors we have, Lou Dobbs, Glen Beck, ABC, NBC, Headline News, Anderson 360, Rick Sanchez, Fox News, Nancy Grace, Wolf Blitzer, Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Larry King Live, Out in the Open, Prime News, CNN newsroom, American Morning, Your World Today, CNN Special Investigations Unit, the list is endless. What do they report ?. The same Garbage everyday… Think about it, it is a continual repeat of the same thing.

    Is this what life is about? Which one of these news agencies tries to unite the people so that we can solve this countries problem ?. NONE OF THEM.. I am sick of listening to this. Is it not easier for them to report " NOTHING HAS CHANGED TODAY, EVERYTHING REMAINS AS LOUSY AND PATHETIC AS YESTERDAY". What about being innocent until proven guilty, we have no rights anymore. If you cannot afford an expensive attorney you have NO CHANCE of Justice. Our Government has lost sight (Intentionally) of what this country was built on. Its all about AGENDA'S and MONEY.

    Listen to the Presidential Debates it is the same Garbage year after year. The candidates find out what you MAYBE interested in, and then they led you to believe there all for it, that is until there elected, and then once more they do NOTHING.

    Why don't one of these programs HELP make a difference, lead the way ………

  18. Fritz says:

    You couldn't pay me REAL good money to be a cop now-a-days. Enforcing speed limits that are often set too low….. for the purpose of revenue collection and the many other crappy laws our idiot do-gooder legislators generate. All kinds of laws generated with hidden agenda's all while most of us are totally uninvolved. There are so many schemes dreamed up including cameras (red light and speed), unmarked cop cars ect. Houston is even looking at a UAV to write tickets see;

    What the HELL is next, spy satellites to write tickets. Nothing surprises me anymore. About the time I say to myself that they couldn't possibly dream up a better scheme to write more tickets….they do. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times to the point of being hoarse….we've got to get rid of the damn MONEY in traffic control. If I didn't know better I'd think drivers want more traffic tickets. They sure don't seem to be interested in fighting this obvious conflict of interest. If you set down and came up with a well thought out plan to incentivize the writing of more traffic tickets you couldn't design one any better then we have now.

    I would love to support law enforcement but after driving for over 45 years and seeing all the dirty tricks they pull to write tickets, I just can't. I'm constantly reminded of this. I work afternoons and just today I seen a late model black mercury unmarked cop car who had pulled someone over. Drivers in these parts no longer know if it's a imposer or a real cop pulling them over. Going to such extremes to write tickets is insane. Drivers need to be able to identify law enforcement vehicles to eliminate any doubt who is attempting to stop them. Any kid or car nut can make any car look just like a real unmarked car. Unmarked cars need to be used for REAL criminals. Any cop who runs around in a unmarked car places the security of the driving public at risk and I have zero respect for these guys. These guys are nothing but revenuers for the city. There's absolutely no reason what-so-ever to run around in unmarked cop cars except to write more tickets.

    Having said that I acknowledge there are good cops out there but they all wear the same uniform. My advise to cops who hate the lack of respect they get for their job is resign and get a real job. I'm not saying that in a negative way. You'll never have respect if traffic control is your game, not the way it's currently played, it's that simple. I'm sure many of us when we were younger could have become cops. But we recognized that screwing our fellow citizens day in and day out, month after month, year after year would eventually get on our conscious (if we had one).

    If we are serous about traffic safety then it's damn sure time to start enforcement of laws that REALLY causes accidents not the fake notion that speeding causes all accidents. And lets start with a first class nation-wide drivers education program for all our future drives and lets start turning out professional drivers from these classes. Don't think we have the money?.. then don't talk to me about traffic safety. A few years ago the AAA had a bill sponsored in the Oklahoma legislature to beef up drivers education programs throughout the state. Well by the time everybody got though picking on it, it was a shell of it's former self. Guess who wouldn't even support it….law enforcement. I'm still scratching my head over that one. Oh, and in Oklahoma quota's ARE legal. I guess you could expect that.

  19. Al says:

    The various towns and municipalities that make up the Detroit area in Michigan have taken revenue generation to new heights.

    The number of traffic stops and speed traps is patently obvious to anyone that drives in the Detroit area.

    Get a ticket in anyone of the outlying burgs and you go to court and automatically get it reduced to "obstructing traffic" or someother non-sense violation. No points so you are very happy. Same fine, though. What you don't know is that now the local municipality keeps ALL the fine instead of sharing it with the State. Since it is now a local ordinace violation and the secretary of state never hears about it (no point, remember) they never know of the fine and the municipality keeping the money. Dearborn Heights built a huge new court house off the procedes just to handle the daily traffic of "ticket payers" lining up at the door. Just to see the "magistrate" and get their fine reduced.

    Other municipalities hire extra cops and justify their salary in the budget by the amount of tickets they can write. Others have cops on overtime with Homeland Security grants just to write tickets to add revenue to the municipal budget.

    Any cop that trys to argue that tickets are not primarily a revenue generating device has their head where the sun doesn't shine.

  20. Debbie says:

    I received a ticket by a sheriffs deputy the day after I passed a school bus. School bus drivers in Iowa are allowed to write up a violation and turn them in. The the sheriff looks up the plates and issues you a ticket.

    In my particular incident there was a car inbetween me and a school bus, we both were following and stopping behind the school bus. Then after the bus driver had pulled in her stop sign and the lights were off, both the driver ahead of me and myself went around the bus. She wrote me a violation.

    She totally made up a story. She said her lights were on and that the student had started to cross the street. Not true, he was still walking up his driveway to the street. So me being naive, went to court. I told my side of the story. The Judge sided with her.

    I am so mad at myself. I should have called witnesses in. Another bus driver told me that this particular bus driver calls in a lot of these violations, that she hears her talking on the radio with another driver getting plate #'s. She has been a bus driver less than 2 years and written numerous violation reports.

    My daughter's bus driver has been driving bus for 14 years and never written one. She said she has had an occasionally violation occur but she has never been able to get the plate #.

    I went to talk to her boss. What a piece of work. I asked if they kept the violation reports and he told me no. I asked why? He said the state didn't require it. I said "wouldn't it be a red flag if this bus driver has written way more violations than the other drivers? He said a blatant NO! Then he proceeded to tell me he KNOWS she's not lying, he KNOWS!!! Well no one can know 100% sure that another person is not lying. Only GOD and the person themself knows that.

    Then I asked him if she has so many violations on her route why doesn't she have a camera on her bus? He told me it would cost $70,000. That kinda shut me up. Somewhere in the conversation with him I asked him if he had ever followed her? He told me yes and that he had almost been run off the road by another driver. He said he chased that driver down. I asked him if he wrote them up and he said yes.

    Anyway I ended up walking out of his office while his lips were still lying. I didn't want to hear it anymore. I then went to his boss, who told me that it was not true that it would cost $70,000. He said it was $2800, for one bus. I later learned that he has a request in for $70,000 to put them on the rest of the buses. Also they do keep the violation reports, they are in a folder in no particular order. He told his boss I asked for statistics.

    Anyway I think he may have gotten chewed a bit. His boss told me that he told him he mislead me and that any information coming out of his office needed to be truthful. And he told me that they were getting 2 Special Ed school buses in with cameras and they were going to take one of those cameras and put on her bus.

    When I went to court the trial before mine was against this same bus driver. She said that a lady went through her stop sign. This lady won. I'm not sure how, she must have ask the write questions. But she was still hot at being falsely accused. She told me she was taking it higher. Now if she was guilty and it just happened to be her lucky day. Why would she take it any higher.

    Anyway I gave her the bosses boss's (Steve) name and she called him too. They made the bus driver switch to a bus that had a camera on it the next day. They didn't wait for the special ed busses. Another thing in talking to the bus drivers boss (Dan) after telling me they didn't keep the violation reports, later in the conversation he told me they had had 400 violations in the last 6 months. Sounds like a lot. But there are 70 busses divided into 400 that is 66 a month so less than 1 violation a month.

    And here's another twist. I was thinking about this appeal and maybe I should just let it go. You see I'm a Christian and I know Jesus was falsely accused. So I thought maybe I should talk to one of my pastors…but then I didn't really want to bug one of them. I go to a very large church and they are busy. But it just so happened that I was enroute to my Sunday School class and was passing our associate pastor and he said to me. "Miss Debbie I need to talk to you" So we stepped in to the office and I said I need to talk to you too.

    He wanted me to teach a class the following week. So anyway I explained as quickly as I could what happened, and asked him if he thought I should appeal it? He said he thought I should. He said the same thing happen to another young girl in the church and that his sister (the youth pastor's wife) was with her when it happened and she testified for her. (she lost too) So I went and found out this so called violation was on the same bus route as mine.

    I'm not positive that it's the same driver yet because the girl didn't know the drivers name. But the discription sounds the same. I'm going to show her a picture as soon as I get the chance.

    Now what are the chances that I'm going to find out 3 of the 6 violations that this bus driver should be averaging. Can you imagine how many she has written. I tried to find that out but they told me that's none of my business. Am I hot? You bet I am!!!!

    I will try and get a hold of my legistlature today. I have till monday Christmas eve to file an appeal and I have to file a brief. Oh by the way the fine for a school bus violation is something like $180, which if I was guilty I wouldn't have a problem paying. I think this bus driver has a form of munchausen syndrome by proxie, she makes these stories up and she's the hero for saving the childen from all these terrible drivers.

    Anybody know how to write a brief or of any other precident cases?

  21. tracker says:

    I am not a lawyer and I could not help you file a brief anyway. I checked the laws and wrote to the states Attorney General in my state. I received no response, but the court in which I appeared had a lot of eyes of Authority on me. I felt I was receiving preferential treatment because my case was being expedited before a lot of other people. I was not trying to get out of paying a ticket, I was clearly "Not Guilty" and was not going to pay it. $107.00 for 11 mph over the limit, and after chugging up a hill dowshifting and braking to keep from speeding down a steep hill at less than 45 mph we spotted Barney. He followed us to the county line over a mile away and cited us for 56 in a 45. Fortunately I had a witness and I researched the state and federal judiciary.
    The state laws vary, but the Bill of Rights guarantees you fairness and justice. I wrote the local newspaper the story and had them hold it until after my court date, because I was ready to go to jail if I was forced to pay so much more as the $20.00 mentioned in the Bill of Rights. A lawyer giving you advice "pro bono" would be great, but I have read in past articles from NMA that lawyers versed with traffic law nation-wide are rare. The fines are nothing for the rich, but the working people have to struggle to keep up with the deflation of the dollar and inflation of the privilege to support a valid drivers license. If it was me I would gather as much information as I could about the route you follow and see how many others have been unfairly written up. Be sure your witnesses are credible.

  22. michael dalene says:

    I learned this from my father. He always said cops were revenue agents; snd states if anyone has noticed, often increase traffic patrols when hit with a "budget crunch." PROOF POSITIVE that it has NOTHING to do with safety and EVERYTHING to do with MONEY!!!

    Our governments run on supply and demand: The more (money) we (are willingly to) supply, the more they will demand.

    The only way to stop any of it is to CUT THE SUPPLY!!!

    Refuse to pay taxes, fines, fees, etc., etc. Even if it means going to jail? If you, me, and millions of others "JUST SAY NO!!!,"…


  23. ken mags says:

    Big business is right. I recently got a $700.00 speeding ticket in Georgia for 93mph in a 65 mph zone. Even the lawyer I contacted thought it was an outrageous fine. Shouldn't the state have a published fine amount for infractions? This fine seems outrageous and was imposed because I am an out of state driver, I am sure.

  24. Bob Dobbs says:

    That may be true, ken. If you were not driving recklessly or dangerously, I believe the free market should let you go.

  25. Bob Dobbs says:

    does the state have the authority to restrict us from driving? i want to seriously examine the law and ethics behind drivers' licenses.

  26. John says:

    I thought of a solution to the problem…quit speeding you morons.

    For a bunch of fruit loops you sure choose a boring conspiracy theory.

  27. tracker says:

    In regard to Als letter on 12/07/07:
    Detroit is not the only area that practices this type of exploitation. Johns comment of 1/11/08 calling all ticket recipients morons may be a boring conspiracy to him, but those of us who live in the heart of Speed Trap Alley find it appalling. The term speed trap is a catch all phrase and if you will read the article opening this conspiracy theory you will see how politics and small time government form alliances nation-wide to cut big government budgets. Items four and five on the list are laughable in todays context of traffic safety. When not enough revenue is generated from travelers, the locals are targetted. Burned out headlamp : $95.00 fine includes local costs. The guy had it broken by vandals when he attended a function downtown one night. He thought he was going to get a courtesy warning. His letter to the editor read something to the effect of " Back to the days of Mayberry".

  28. Joe says:

    John, I've seen your kind before. When you have nothing to add to the debate, you call posters names. If you post again add a little intelligence the next time.

  29. Ralf says:

    I would gladly contest the ticket given me by a rude sheriff's deputy for allegedly passing a school zone with over-the-limit speed, I know I was a mixed identity victim, but… I decided to pay that robber's "fee" of $150.00.
    Why? Along with a ticket I received a printed leaflet warning me that if I lose at court I will be liable to a fine of $1,000.00.
    Any public system driven by money gains tends to be crooked so I think I made a right choice. Contesting frame up and risking loosing it six fold was not a right option.

  30. Leeona Klippstein says:

    I got a speeding ticket from a Highway patrol cop that had his car sitting in the middle of a four lane highway. I saw him way in advance and made sure I was going 55. He pulled me over and said his radar clocked me at 68 in a 55. I told him it couldn't be right, explained I saw him way in advance and checked my self. He gave me the ticket anyhow. I want to fight it and I joined this group to get help. So far, I don't see much information here to help. If anyone reads this and can provide me with info that I can use to fight this ticket, I wouls appreciate it. This ticket happened in Fayetteville, NC during the day in light traffic.

  31. James Young says:

    Go to <a href="” target=”_blank”> and click on "Fight Your Ticket." I urge you to rent the Legal Defesne Kit, well worth the pittance they charge. Be sure that you have pled not guilty and obtain a court date as far in the future as you can. Let the LDK lead you through the process of creating a solid defense. Be sure to look up the exact law that you are alleged to have violated. They're available online. Go to the court room where your trial will be held and observe what goes on there. Do that several times. You need to go into court well prepared, well dressed and ready for what the prosecution will likely do. Do not be surprised when you hear testimony that is less than accurate.

    Good luck and keep us informed.

  32. S. Swanson says:

    I was given a ticket for $180 after a school bus driver in Iowa reported me for passing (going opposite direction) while the red flashers were on. I was dumbfounded when the police officer called the next day. I would not and did not do such a thing! First he said it was a "teen-aged boy" driving. At first, I thought my son had made a mistake, bc he usually drives the car. Then I realized I had had the car that day to take it in for servicing. When I told the officer this, he quickly changed his story to "a middle aged woman". I've driven in our school distict for 12+ years, shuttling our four children to school activities and my kids have all ridden the bus. This story was a complete fabrication. I told the officer what actually happened when he called. He said he was going to 'investigate' the claim, but how could he do that?? There were plenty of people driving that road in the morning, but I don't know who. So I appeared in _______ County court, said I wouldn't pay the ticket, and was given a court date which is 5 days from now (Feb. 5). I was told I could call a certain lawyer and was given his phone number. But he turned out to be the prosectuting attourney representing the city of ______. So, I get to represent myself against a city lawyer or hire one, which would cost a lot more than the ticket! So much for 'innocent until proven guilty'. This is spooky. I wonder what I should do? Any ideas? I've never even been told what this driver's specific story is. Shall I contact the bus company? I will definitely be writing an editorial to the local newspaper either way and will also ask how many write-ups this particular driver has. Any other tips or advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

  33. James Young says:

    First things first. Get a continuance, even if it means a trip down to the courthouse to meet with the court clerk. Generally, the first continuance is granted without question but get it in writing.

    Next, go to <a href="” target=”_blank”> and click on “Fighting your Ticket.” You need to rent the Legal Defense Kit and you can just call them and make arrangements. I also urge you to join NMA; it is the only representative of one of the largest groups in the nation: drivers.

    Look up the specific law that you are alleged to have violated and print it out. The prosecution must prove all elements of that law. If one fails, they all fail.

    Investigate the driver as much as you can. It’s doubtful that the school district will offer anything and will likely call it a personnel matter no subject to public scrutiny but you can try.

    Take notes of every call you make, every person you speak to, and every document that you are given. I’ve been lied to more often than not by public employees who just want you to go away.

    Go to the court where you will have your trial and sit in the gallery as an observer for a couple of days. See who conducts themselves well and who doesn’t and watch the judge’s reaction to it.

    NMA also has attorneys who handle traffic cases. Look them up at <a href="” target=”_blank”>

  34. george says:


  35. Leeona Klippstein says:

    To followup – I got a continuance re: speeding ticket and will return to court in two weeks. In the meanwhile I looked up the statute for the code violation and have found that the sections (B)(G) do not exist, but there is a section (b) and a section (g), but no (B)(G). Is this enough of a technical error to get the citation dismissed?

  36. James Young says:

    Leeona writes:
    {I. . . have found that the sections (B)(G) do not exist, but there is a section (b) and a section (g), but no (B)(G). Is this enough of a technical error to get the citation dismissed?}

    No. Good job on the continuance. You should probably try to get another if possible , citing the need for research (legal and physical, reviewing material, interviewing witnessess). The longer you can go between the event and the trial is to your benefit.

  37. Joe says:

    By george on Feb 1, 2008… I guess it really don't matter to you whether S. Swanson might actually be telling the truth.

  38. S. Swanson says:

    My case got dismissed. I appeared, ready to defend myself after having spoken with someone on the phone from this organization who told me how to do that. The city's prosecutor told me "it was my lucky day" bc the bus company didn't want to send the driver down. He expected me to leave, no questions asked. But I did ask questions, including: How could they bring a charge costing me $180 based only on hearsay? How did the police officer 'investigate' this [allegation against me]-A-He supposedly checked the credibility of the bus driver. I asked why he didn't check my credibility, too. I told him (as a helpful reader of this blog advised) that I had to be PROVEN guilty of breaking ALL the parts of this ordinance, and when I enumerated for him all the parts of it, he mistakenly told me I was wrong about one part, which of course I wasn't. I had the code printed out and in hand. Here is a lawyer who tells me he's been prosecuting 'these school bus cases' since 1973 and almost all of them that go to court end in a conviction–and he doesn't even know the law?? Anyway…I told him it wasn't my lucky day, I had spend many hours and trips to the police station and courthouse and I was irritated. He didn't want to admit they had no case and that they had been acting like idiots, so he still maintained I was 'lucky'. I thought he was the lucky one that I didn't raise more of a ruckus than I did. :)

    Thanks, everyone, for the info and support.

    –S. Swanson

  39. tracker says:

    To S. Swanson :
    Another one for the people vs. government corruption. My friends son had his ticket dismissed for not dimming his lights quick enough on a rural county road in a notoriously corrupt township. He had the same defense as yours basically. The officer was all wrong with his information on who it was he turned around and was chasing for a quick one, so they had to dismiss the charges. The final words of the magistrate ( judge ) were, "what were you doing in ____ "? He was visiting his parents who had recently moved there. I never knew it was illegal or unethical to travel to your parents home driving on public roads, but apparently in that town it was suspicious behavior. His last statement was " Consider this a warning!"

  40. […] first one, but a speed trap scenario is rarely capitalized upon for the purpose of saving lives; as this article suggests, it's because of greed. Realistically, there is little […]

  41. E. Meyers says:

    If this isn't fascism, what's the difference between this and the real thing?

    My enemy is not the criminal and the terrorist. Mine is the police and the DMV. Immature, inadequet loosers hiding behind a gun and a badge, anxious to find crime where it doesn't exist, so they can be hero's and save the world. Not to mention ease their concious about taking a pay check. The lie that their the good guys needs a victem to play the bad. Guess who that is?

    They're proxy employees of insurance companies, paid by greedy governments to generate revenue while shipping jobs out of the country, importing cheap labor and asking you to die in Iraq to defend it…and oh! yea…'s another ticket…..obey the law. Better yet….OBEY

    A ticket based on un-just laws given by some biased individual, that gets you into an un-just court with a stacked deck, secret rules
    and exorbident fines.

    As for the two cops that responded. Your living a lie. You see what you want to see the way you want to see it, so it'll mean what you want it to mean. Your the real criminal.

    Getting a ticket doesn't mean your guilty and broke a law. I can prove that. Police create crime. Obey the law and you won't get a ticket is B.S.

    If you want you can put your badge where your mouth is by betting it. We can have a public on-line debate and let the readers decide who is right and who is wrong. Got balls enuff for that?

    If your part of the system your part of the crime. There is no such thing as an innocent Nazi storm trooper. What cop would admit to making a misstake? What cop would report another officer for making a misstake, let alone an injustice. What impotent court clerk with proxy power would admit to a misstake let alone be courteous.

    Law creates crime. No law no crime. Can a law be an injustice? You bet.

    Stand up, fight back, resist, plead Not Guilty.

    Either that or wish Bin Laden Good Luck.

  42. Joe says:

    As a general rule, my stance is never admit guilt to the officer and don't give the officer a hint you might go to court with your ticket. Around here I've heard that they tend to make little notes on the back of their copy of the citation if they sense you might go to court. Then as James Young has eluded to, stretch the time between your ticket and the actual court date, the more the better. The officer is less likely to remember details of the traffic stop as he will have made many more traffic stops since. You have the advantage of focusing on one stop only. Congrads to S. Swanson on his win. Given'em hell.

  43. Joe says:

    E. Meyers, I sense that you speculate as to the personalties that become cops. I too have wondered what the personally profile of a typical cop would be. You can probably start by mixing in a lot of testosterone. But that's probably a subject for another blogg. We know there are common traits. One of my co-workers relatives is married to a Oklahoma Trooper. He says the guy is a nice guy…..until he puts on that uniform and then his whole personally changes. I would like to think that that same nice guy would be the same in both cases unless someone gives him a reason to change. It bothers me that someone with that much authority can “switch” their personally on and off like a light switch. More and more abusive cops are being spot lighted in the news media. Here's a interesting article entitled;
    “Conflicting claims cause a two-state standoff. What appeared last September to be a routine traffic stop has escalated into a bare-knuckle battle of wills involving a Louisiana woman and a decorated Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper.”

  44. Joe says:

    E. Meyers while your rant about the cops my be justified the faceless politicians who generate these laws are just as guilty. Cops can't enforce laws that don't exist. That's what the main focus of the NMA is, sponsors of this site. It may be a hard message to swallow but as drivers we too also share a responsibility for this whole mess. For too long we have sat on our butts and left traffic control to it's own demise. Municipalities and law enforcement organizations have taken full advantage of our absence from the political process. Practically every cop pays dues to belong to some law enforcement organization that lobbies for their benefit. Almost every town and city in a state pays dues to the Municipal League to represent them at all levels of government. This means money to hire lobbyists to do their bidding for them in front of legislative bodies. Again, as is usual everything boils down to money. Most drivers won't spend so much as a dime to belong to a organization who lobbies for us. For the price of a tank of gas a year, drivers can join an organization such as the NMA and help fund and fight for their interest. We are going to continue to get screwed until we finally see the light. If you follow any of the groups such as the NMA or media such as that follow drivers issues you will quickly discover issues on the horizon that will continue to escalate our disgruntled relationship with government and the justice system, traffic control in particular. Anybody who reads this should belong to some organization, preferably the NMA just as your friendly radar cops does.

  45. hugo says:

    Another thing that many may not be aware of is law enforcement officers will abuse their powers by giving a ticket to one person but if its a friend or fellow officer or a special interest group, they don't give them tickets. They also exclude special interest groups when it comes to arresting them for a crime.

    What this says is the so called being a good driver speech only applies to people outside of the special interest groups, talk about abusing the system.

    This proves that speeding tickets are nonsense, cops do it just to display their power over a citizen. The DMV and Insurance companies are in bed with the police, they all profit.

    I got one ticket $287 but if you choose to go to traffic school you have to pay the court $315, they punish you for going to traffic school – WTF ?

  46. E. Meyers says:

    Responses to my comments. How refreshing to realize there are others out there.

    In the best selling book, Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukov. He talks about artificial power, Guns and money versus authentic power, like creativity. People without authentic power only have the power of denial. The less power they have the more anxious they are to execise it.

    Exercising power indicates doubts about it.

    Inadequacy, real or imagined results in exagerated behavior. Which translates into you getting a ticket.

    Take an inadequate, immature individual in the save the world phase of their existence who imagine crime where it doesn't exist. Give them a gun and a badge. Pay them to write tickets then give them a license to lie, put them in Kangaroo courts, with the deck stacked against you and the rules are secret…and only you can loose….call it fair, call it justice,

    Call it democracy and die in Iraq to defend it. Don't worry bout your job, a Mexican will take it for you.

    Joe is right. It's not the cops, it is higher up, it is the politicians, it is the system. The ugliest part of this is we agree on one thing, if anybody is a bad guy its, cops, politicians, the government. What ever,it is, it's not good.

    I think a two prong attack works. The formal level, the generals and the politicians is one battlefield. Another is guerilla war fare in the trenches. Plead not guilty, even if you are. Ask for a jury trial. Ask for a lawyer even if you can pay for one. By the time they validate that you are not elegible more time has slipped buy. Will the officer remember details? Will the insurance companies make less?

    I am a dues paying member of the NMA and will be re-newing my membership. The information I've gotten from them has been in-valuable. Groups like the NMA are front line, cutting edge groups in the resistance to this fascism. I personally urge others to join.

    I drove cab for forty years at night. Here's what the cabbie sez: National Motorists Association

  47. […] How to Beat a Traffic Ticket Traffic tickets are big business these days, so says the National Motorists Association. Many towns and cities that have mismanaged their budgets, are now using traffic laws and extreme […]

  48. Troy Simpson, Presid says:

    This is why in 2001 I created my company. Contrary to popular belief, it is extremely difficult to beat a ticket in court. As a former police officer myself, I know that in order for a ticket to get dismissed, the officer must be extremely incompetent or simply not show up. Since it is required for officer to be present the ladder rarely happens.
    It is true that traffic tickets is a multi-billion dollar a year industry ranking behind Sony, BMW, McDonalds and others. But city government loose a large chunk of that due to non-payment of tickets.
    Please visit our web site.


  49. Randy says:

    I strongly agree with what James Young said about "continuances". I would advise you all to try to get as many of these as you possibly can . I recently got three continuances on a 40-30mph ticket I had got and by the time my trial date came, the officer had transfered to a different state altogether. Well needless to say due to all the continuances and the absence of the officer obviously my ticket was dismissed. I found this out at
    They teach you all sorts of different methods that you can beat your ticket. But again always ask for as many continuances as possible

  50. tjwonder says:

    I think something needs to be done with changing the laws. It's pretty sad when you watch the news about kids taking guns to school and college students being shot, but the next day on the way to work, you happen to notice about 6 highway patrol officers in a 40 mile stretch of highway pointing a laser at someone’s head. Yea, I counted, and I was so ready to call any one just to rip some @$$. I think stuff like this is a bit ridicules. The most fascinating thing too, that needs to be thought of.

    People make mistakes. I guarantee that if any Policy officer were to receive 3 tickets in a 6 month span, you would be bitching as much as the rest of use, and we know that you speed on those occasions and catch your self. Your ling if so.; I have so many buddies that are cops that it would take me 15 minutes to name them all,. and they all tell me that one of the biggest ways to get promoted is through tickets. Some places very of course, but a lot of are that way.

    I don't have anything against cops, Deputy, Officer Josh, Small Town Cop. If I ever walked into a college class and seen any one of you sitting in the back, I would be the first to walk up to you and look you in the eye, shake your hand, and say thanks for being hear. It is just common sense that anyone that brought a gun, or knife to school would think twice about doing anything, seeing a few cops hanging around.

    I feel that law enforcement officers would be playing a better role in local schools and college compasses than sitting on the side of the interstate pointing lazier at people trying to make a living.

    James Young, thanks for the tip, but honestly, we need to see about changing some laws one way or another. I am a systems Engineer, and generally don't have such time. I am either working or studding do to my career. However, I am more than welcome to sign a paper to get something’s changed and stand behind it.

    Everyone knows that this is getting out of control, even the cops, but can't domdem a man or woman for doing there job. I think that it is about time that we start standing togother and see about getting the laws changed.