Maintaining the proper speed limit may sound like an easy enough feat, but it really isn’t quite so easy to put into practice. The chaos of everyday life puts pressure on us to stay on the go, and other South Florida drivers virtually swirl around us which motivates us to try to keep up with traffic. It is, therefore, completely unsurprising that there were more than 75,300 speeding tickets issued in Palm Beach County last year. That’s just the speeding tickets and does not included the more than half a million other traffic tickets that were issued here. Of all of these speeding tickets, only six percent of these citations were either dismissed or the driver was found not guilty.
We all know the reputation of Florida State troopers as being rather no-nonsense, so another unsurprising fact is that nearly 40% of these speeding tickets that were doled out in Palm Beach County were issued by the Florida Highway Patrol although the Palm Beach Sheriff’s office was a close second. These facts just reaffirm what I have always said – the issuance of speeding tickets or traffic citations in general is a multi-million dollar enterprise upon which our local law enforcement agencies thrive. Of course, with speeding ticket being the number one reason that traffic citations are issued, it’s easy to see why law enforcement and legislators count on these funds to pad their budgets. The old adage of “At nine you’re fine, at ten you’re mine,” is no longer a benchmark that drivers should use when calculating what speed they think they can get away with.
I think that for the most part the average driver frequently doesn’t even notice posted speed limits and more often than not, just ignores them when they do see them. Unless you have recently gotten a traffic ticket, are a new driver, or you are unfamiliar with an area, it becomes quite easy to just go along and try to keep up with traffic. It can be challenging to try to keep one eye on the road and one on the speedometer, and using cruise control is completely impractical unless you are traveling for an extended period of time on a highway.
Even a couple of miles per hour over the speed limit can become very expensive. In Florida, a speeding fine can cost anywhere between $150 and $650 which means that Palm Beach rakes in an average of over $30,000,000 per year from speeding infractions alone, and the State of Florida hauls in more than 20 times that amount. This staggering sum is an amount that can be inconceivable in minds of most of us, but to the State of Florida and the other entities that collect a portion of these funds, it’s all in a day’s work. There are those who will say that cops are just doing their job and this is true, but they have more than just a paycheck to sway them in favor of writing speeding tickets as opposed to letting someone off with just a warning. Their personal income may not be affected by the amount of traffic tickets that they write, but their job itself certainly is. A cop who writes a lot of tickets is going to look like he’s motivated to his supervisors, where as a cop who writes fewer speeding tickets may appear to be slacking off on the job. When it comes to promotions, this is certainly going to be a consideration.
Palm Beach also has a vested interest in the $30,000,000 raised by speeding tickets. The Clerk of Court collects these fines gladly because not only does the county benefit, but the budget of the clerk’s office is affected by the amount of revenue brought in by collecting these funds. Florida also sees its share of these monies and relies on this financial gain, as well. With steadily increasing speeding fines, the state anticipates a certain amount of income from this source which it then uses to help meet its budgetary needs for making infrastructure improvements and in hiring more law enforcement officials.
There is much more to consider than simply the amount of the speeding ticket, too. A speeding violation conviction will result in 3 or 4 points against your license, depending upon how fast you were going. This is all the justification that insurance companies need to raise your rates for the next three years, which results in a multi-billion profit for them. It is often the luckless drivers who get caught going just a small amount over the speed limit who end up lining the pockets of the insurance industry. It can be infuriating, especially when you consider that this is often the result of insurance industry lobbyists. Additionally, if you are speeding and cause a car wreck, you could be facing criminal charges. This could land you in jail or you could be looking at having a tremendous financial burden hanging over your head for years to come if you cause more damage than your insurance company will pay.
For some drivers, the costs associated with a Palm Beach speeding ticket can be so high that it can prevent them from being able to continue to drive. Although the economy is improving, those who are struggling financially may find a speeding ticket fine of a few hundred dollars plus court costs, or driving school fees plus court costs, coupled with rising insurance rates will make driving financially unattainable. When the fines and penalties for a speeding ticket exceed one’s ability to pay, your car may end up just taking up space in the driveway. You can, of course, always fight your speeding ticket in court, and when it comes down to something as crucial as whether or not you will be able to continue to drive, it would benefit you to have the expertise of an experienced traffic ticket attorney on your side. Consequently, if you have gotten a Palm Beach County speeding ticket, give us a call and let us provide you with a free consultation. You can reach us at 954-967-9888, and we will be happy to help keep you on the road.