Who Hijacked Our Country

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Balancing the Budget with Traffic Fines

If you want to help with the budget deficit, get a traffic ticket or two or three.

A $70 failure-to-buckle-up citation ended up costing an L.A. driver more than ten times that amount, after a shitload of fees and surcharges were added. Damn, I thought only banks could do that. And cell phone carriers, hotels, car rental agencies…

I’m actually in favor of this approach to generating revenue, but ONLY for traffic laws that actually protect the public. If somebody wants to go barreling down the highway without a seatbelt, that person is not endangering anybody else.

In the town where I live, everyone (everyone except the police department, for whatever reason) seems to agree that the city could balance its budget overnight if the cops started ticketing drivers who go careening through pedestrian crosswalks.

You already pay an arm and a leg and your firstborn for parking in a handicapped space if you aren’t handicapped, and driving by yourself in the carpool lane. And DUI of course.

Once in awhile somebody actually gets a ticket for driving too slowly and/or failure to get out of the passing lane so another driver can pass. And once in awhile doesn’t cut it. THIS is where we need a fine so brutal, so crippling, that all motorists will keep a constant eye on the rearview mirror (just like we all learned in Driver Ed). As soon as another vehicle appears in the rearview mirror — “oh shit, somebody wants to pass; I’ve gotta pull over right now!”

And above all, let’s set these traffic fines on a sliding scale. Yes, I’m a class warfare-mongering socialist who hates the free enterprise system; and that story out of Switzerland just made my day. A $290,000 fine for speeding in your Ferrari? Goddamn right!

If you’ve got money coming out of your ears and you’re driving recklessly, or clogging up the left lane while you eat, text, comb your hair and change the CD — you’ll help us balance the budget. Works for me.

And in other news, the latest from the Vatican: “My Pedophiles Had Nothing To Do With It. It Was Their Pedophiles!”

OK, we’ve got that settled.

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Blogger Distributorcap said...

parking ticket in NYC - $115. and i love the fees thing - also know as "shipping and handling"

as for the vatican............

March 21, 2010 at 8:34 AM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

Works for me too, seeing people make a turn with one hand on the steering wheel with a phone stuck to their ear makes me cringe.

March 21, 2010 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Not a good idea. While there are thousands of horrible drivers out there who should be taken off the road, I don't think the US police state needs another excuse to target citizens.

March 21, 2010 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

We need a new traffic enforcement priority. I love the Swiss idea. Let's set a sliding scale of fines proportional to the wealth of the driver. Let the economic elite tremble at the new profiling: let them beware of the new risk of DWR, (Driving While Rich).

It's past time to punish the evil bastards.

March 21, 2010 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Demeur said...

I say we make all cell phone drivers do road clearance in southern Afghanistan. That might change a few things. :-)

March 21, 2010 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Distributorcap: "Shipping and handling," there you go.

Holte: What, they've got a hand actually touching the steering wheel? That hand is supposed to be holding a burger or a latte.

Lew: I like the idea, but I can see how it could backfire, especially in this country. People who aren't wearing seatbelts, or who are speeding when there's nobody else on the road, would probably be gouged for everything they own; and the police would ignore the assholes going 35 in the passing lane.

Dave: Driving While Rich, LOL. If they follow the rules (for once in their lives) they won't have any problems. Theoretically.

Demeur: Excellent idea.

March 21, 2010 at 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One Group that thinks it's a bad idea may surprise you:

The Law Enforcement Agencies and the Criminologist usually are against these raises.

Why? Because whenever you raise fines and fees to balance budgets you encourage non compliance.

The last incident out here was when California Gov. George Deukmajian raised fines and fees by more then double to balance the state budget. It was too much for violators to afford and many just walked away from them, and it made of lot of pretty criminals and more money was spent on the courts and prison system trying to process them as well as the real crooks.

Politicians should remember that the real purpose of the fines and fees is to discourage compliance, make people think twice about breaking the law. If you raise it up too much, too fast. People find themselves not caring, or just unable, therefore nothing is achieved, the promised revenue doesn't come in nor does the compliance.

You should only do it and to a market formula, when non compliance goes up, then once raised on that margin, compliance goes back up and the state makes a little more money (which lessons when compliance goes up).


March 21, 2010 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: That all makes sense. I've also heard that cops hate making traffic stops (it's hard to believe sometimes, when you see that red flashing light in your rearview mirror). Supposedly traffic stops and domestic violence calls are the two types of incidents where cops are most likely to be assaulted or shot by a suspect.

March 21, 2010 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Joaquin said...

We should have a ticket-scale based on the value of the car.
If a Lexus LS 460L runs a light - $200.00
If a Ford Focus runs the same light - $20.00

Sounds fair to me!

March 22, 2010 at 6:30 AM  

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