Speeding Tickets = City Donations

I’ve long held a rather odd belief about speeding tickets, which might be why I don’t particularly mind getting them.

First of all, any time I’ve got some sort of traffic ticket I’ve been actually doing something wrong, so there’s really no reason to bitch about it.

When you get a drivers license you clearly consent to following all the pre-set rules, and if you don’t follow them, you run the risk of getting a citation for it.

The other belief is that every time I get a traffic violation it’s like a “donation to the city.”

I like this point of view because 1.) It’s true and 2.) It’s a great way to not get frustrated about getting a ticket.

I’ve been to the Austin DPS many times to pay off tickets, and I must say it’s an exceedingly simple, straightforward and very easy experience (although I’ve tried schemes to get out of tickets before). It’s actually refreshing to see a government entity so on top of its game.

I’ve been to other DPS’s where I’ve had to wait in excess of three hours to give them my money. I don’t care about the money, but making me waste an ENTIRE day….That’s just cruel….very effective in getting me to avoid tickets…but cruel.

In Austin I almost don’t mind getting a ticket because I can easily take care of it over the phone, in person or internet. It’s easy, quick and the revenue goes towards a great city.

It almost makes me WANT to get caught!

——————————————

Now what I DON’T like getting caught by is those automated traffic ticketing systems. I wrote about my first one here that gave me a nice photo shoot. It’s so impersonal….although highly effective.

Getting caught by an officer is kind of a fun cat & mouse game. I wasn’t particularly mad about the last one because it clearly shows I blatantly ran a red. However I got another one of these recently, and after viewing the photos online I immediately cried “I DIDN’T RUN THE LIGHT!!” I was simply taking a right turn on a red light, I could clearly see my car turning right. I unfairly got a ticket!!

Turning right:

However unlike my last ticket, this ticket included a link to a VIDEO of my offense. Uh ohh! I immediately thought this would be pretty incriminating, but it really wasn’t. I didn’t speed through this light, I safely slowed down and took the right.

Video:

OK, I didn’t stop 100%, but I slowed down to like 2mph which is damn near stopped. I think this is actually an unfair and undeserved ticket. Yes, I didn’t COMPLETELY STOP AT THE WHITE LINE, but even if a cop was behind me, I seriously doubt he would’ve pulled me over for this.

A little pissed off, I did some research and came across sites like Camera Fraud and others who highlight all the negative and unfair things about these camera lights.

I decided to try semi-fighting this ticket, even though I knew I either pay $75 to get this over with, or drive to Houston, schedule a hearing, then work with a small chance of success to get this dismissed. I called the company in charge of the cameras and spoke to someone about it. I told her the call was being recorded for a news broadcast (just so she wouldn’t start getting snippy or hang up on me) and started questioning the video. Surely enough she started on the “You clearly didn’t fully stop at the first white line…” spiel and I quickly realized fighting this wasn’t going anywhere.

SO while I’ll go ahead and pay this $75, I don’t feel as good about it. I didn’t get the thrill of being pulled over or immediately told what I did wrong….plus I don’t think I did anything wrong.

However it’s easier to pay off the $75 than to actually fight this ticket.

…and like I said earlier in this post:

…any time I’ve got some sort of traffic ticket I’ve been actually doing something wrong, so there’s really no reason to bitch about it.

…and in reality I didn’t fully stop.

———————

On another note:
Despite me being slightly fumed about this latest ticket, I have to admit these traffic violation companies have an EXCELLENT business model!!

The cameras and infrastructure might be a little costly, but they constantly generate revenue for the company and the city. I imagine the biggest drawback to that business would be having to deal with government entities to get permission to post the cameras….and getting governments to give you long-term contracts so you can make your money back.

———————

On even another note:
I remember hearing about a couple of products that help distort your license plate from those cameras. I imagine as technology gets better it will make these methods obsolete, but for now I’m seriously considering buying this spray:

It seems like a great (and legal) way to say F*CK YOU to the speed cameras (although purposely running a red light one day with a middle finger out the window might be more fun)!

From now on I’d prefer my traffic tickets to come from an actual officer.

License and registration please…..

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    Blog posted on: December 7, 2009

    14 comments on “Speeding Tickets = City Donations

    1. billyzelsnack

      If the ticket wording is very specific and not related to a right turn I'd guess you'd get out of it without much hassle. If there is any question it's kinda your duty IMO to not just pay up. Being lazy and just paying up is why cities love this type of revenue stream. At least when you go to court it costs them money.

      Reply
    2. Peter Cooper

      Here in Europe you get a fine as well as "points" on your license. Do you get those there? Basically here you can get up to 12 points before you lose your license, but you get 3 points for a basic speeding offence.

      The downside beyond that is you have to declare your points to your car insurance company, and your insurance fee goes up quickly the more points you have. So getting caught doing 35 in a 30 not only stiffs you for £80 ($130ish) but probably £100-£200 a year in insurance premiums extra. This is a pretty big deterrent.

      Reply
    3. Neville

      Billy,
      It says, "Failure to stop at a red light."
      Kind of B.S. to me, but $75 isn't worth the gas driving back and forth to Houston :-/

      Peter,
      It varies by state over here. Fortunately Texas is very lenient and doesn't have a point system. I've got many tickets but still have a clean record because you can easily get tickets dismissed through defensive driving or deferred adjudication.

      By the way, if anyone wants to start a very evil business, just start taking pics of cars then sending fake tickets! I'm sure you could make some money….you know, before you're eventually arrested :-)

      Reply
    4. Mike

      In Florida we have the points system. And if you get any points at all car insurance companies usually raise your rates. So not only are you donating to the city, you are donating to whoever insures your vehicle.

      Reply
    5. linda

      Neville, this blog entry made me giggle in a library.

      I've come to screeching, fishtailing halts in the rain because I'm so afraid of t hose damn cameras!

      Reply
    6. Jose Anes

      I do not mind paying for tickets. What I do mind is the possibility of loosing the right to drive. (And Yes, I establish it is a right, because I pay for it, a lot more so than the average person pays taxes for it – and I have not harmed anyone in my life while driving).

      Reply
    7. Myra

      The fine for a red light camera ticket in Southern Cali is $500. I know a few people who have received a ticket for the same reason that you got a ticket. They were told that you have to a make at least a 3-second stop.

      I've done research on these camera systems online and I read that the camera is triggered once you pass the white line on a red light. It seems in your video that the flash from the camera was before you even crossed the white line. I guess these camera systems operate differently?

      Reply
    8. linda

      yo. i just sent my friend to yourblog (i send a lot of people toyour blog)
      and told him to serach for your back flip video and theres no search option!

      Reply
    9. Anonymous

      Hey Neville-consider this: the next time you receive a ticket, choose to go to court before a judge (not a jury trial). Let'say, for example, the charges are brought against you by the State. Ask the judge who his/her employer is. If they respond "the state",you might suggest that the charges be thrown out, because the judge may not be able to fairly rule in a case involving their employer.

      Reply
    10. dape

      Stop whinging, in over thirty years of driving never broken the law, – pay up and be grateful you have not hurt anyone yet.

      Reply

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