No one likes to get a traffic ticket. However, after they have cooled off and decided not to repeat the offence in future, many people are left wondering where the money from the fines ends up. Depending on the state where the ticket was issued and a few other factors the funds are appropriated for use in various categories by the agency that issued the ticket.
The post below discussed some of the ways in which funds collected through driving tickets are spent.
1. Court Systems
Traffic tickets are a major source of revenue for government services like court systems. While criminals sometimes have fines levied against them, traffic tickets are far more common than felony fees. In the typical setup, state, county and city, courts get a bit of the total cost of a traffic ticket.
The salaries of the various people involved in court systems may also come from traffic ticket funds. These funds come from public sources, such as traffic ticket revenue. Some people whose salaries or wages might be paid at least partially this way include:
- District Attorneys
- Judges and
2. State Public Safety and Education Funds
Funds from traffic tickets are used to run programs like “Click it or Ticket” and other safety advocacy outreach. This may be a portion of every ticket or only a portion of certain tickets, such as those issued for seatbelt violations. Some of the funds are used for things like the signs and advertisements aimed at making people aware of the campaign. Other funds are allocated to help law enforcement pay for the additional manpower that is required to enforce these measures during crackdowns.
3. Judicial and Legal Information Systems
Someone has to maintain the state’s computer programs that keep track of everything from felons to parking ticket offenders. Part of the funding to do so comes out of traffic ticket judgments. In some states, part of a traffic ticket fine goes to the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to help pay for their record keeping. Equipment and other requirements of the information system are also partially funded this way.
4. Document Storage Fees
When drivers are ticketed for traffic violations, the government must keep a record of this information for a certain period of time, possibly indefinitely. The space required to store this information, plus personnel required to maintain these storage facilities and access to the files when needed, is often paid for through traffic tickets. Even virtual documents require storage space for devices like hard drives and personnel to keep records and access information on demand.
5. Local Public Safety Technology
Traffic tickets are supposed to serve the dual purpose of punishing offenders and funding safety measures. One way that this is accomplished is through funding technology like red light cameras or speed assessment devices. The funding for these types of expensive pieces of technology may come partially or entirely from traffic ticket fines.
6. Air Quality Programs
Roadways are one of the major sources of pollution in the U.S. In some states, such as California, as much as 50 percent of the revenue generated from a traffic ticket goes to an air quality fund. These funds attempt to educate the public, enforce laws requiring things like the removal of gross polluters from the roadways and otherwise improve air quality.
7. Medical Treatment Funds
In some states, part of the revenue generated by all or certain types of traffic tickets goes to a medical treatment fund for the uninsured. Typically, these funds pay out to public emergency departments or other facilities that bear the brunt of the expenses for uninsured motorists’ injuries. Sometimes the money goes to funds dedicated to certain types of injuries, such as brain trauma.