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  1. #1
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    Default Study - More out-of-state people cited for speeding vs. loca

    More out-of-state people cited for speeding

    This popped into my inbox:

    FAIRFAX, Va., May 1, 2007 -- When you head out of state for your road trip this summer, make sure to go easy on the gas pedal. A new study by George Mason University economists reveals that where you live versus where you get pulled over for speeding can increase your chance for getting a ticket -- and increase the cost of that ticket.

    The study, "Political Economy at Any Speed: What Determines Traffic Citations?," also shows that your race and gender also may determine how likely it is that you will receive a traffic violation.

    Economics professor Thomas Stratmann and PhD candidate Michael Makowsky conducted a study of traffic stops in Massachusetts from April and May 2001.

    Their paper proves what many have suspected for years:

    * Out-of-town visitors have a 51 percent chance of receiving a citation when pulled over, compared to 30 percent for local drivers.

    * The farther a driver lives from the courthouse where the ticket could be challenged, the more likely it is that they will be ticketed. Also, the fines will likely be higher.

    * Local officers are more likely to issue a ticket when citizens vote down property tax increases.

    * Police officers are less likely to issue a ticket in towns that depend on tourism revenue.

    The study also shows that male drivers and Hispanic drivers receive more tickets than other drivers. Conversely, young women receive fewer tickets.

    "When we first started looking at the data we hoped that despite anecdotes to the contrary, everybody would be found to be treated equally under the law," said Stratmann. "What we found in the data is that, in fact, people are not treated remotely equally under the law."

    The authors, both Virginia residents, came up with the idea to conduct the study after one was stopped for speeding in Massachusetts.

    "I was pulled over amongst a throng of other speeding cars and stopped to think how I was different from the other drivers," Makowsky said. "The first thing I thought of was my Virginia license plate."

    "Traffic laws were originally implemented to discourage people from behaving in an unsafe manner and placing other citizens in danger," Makowsky said. "However, when there is a revenue-generating element, it changes the motives of policymakers and the law enforcement officers they employ."
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  2. #2

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  3. #3
    Yoda of Radar
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    You make valid points
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  4. #4
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    They are valid points, but what about out-of-towners having a 51% chance of getting a ticket when pulled over vs. 30% for locals? This has nothing to do with safety or out-of-towners not knowing about local speed traps. It is 100% revenue related. Out-of-towners are less likely to fight a ticket in court, so it's more profitable to ticket out-of-towners.

    The point is, if you're out of state, you're more likely to be singled out for being pulled over, but you're also more likely to get a ticket for an infraction vs. a local who may only get a warning.

    When it comes to traffic law enforcement, it almost always boils down to revenue, not safety.
    If I'm passing you on the right, YOU are in the wrong lane!

    If speed kills, how come I'm still alive?

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