TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The number of traffic tickets being issued in Florida is on the decline. The most up to date statistics the state has are from 2008, when 120,000 fewer tickets were written than in 2006.
The Criminal Justice Standards and Training Trust Fund is feeling the brunt of the declining ticket revenue. The fund helps pay for tests and training for new and incoming police officers. Now the state is considering raising the fees charged to candidates who take the tests.
Nsoyn Johnson is an out-of-work mechanic. Along with keeping the engine in his ‘82 Chevy in tiptop shape, Nsoyn also keeps a close eye on his driving to avoid getting a ticket.
Johnson says, “You got to pay a little more attention on the road as far as your lights and different things like that. You don’t speed as much.”
Cash strapped drivers are helping make Florida’s roads safer. 420 fewer people died in car accidents last year. FHP has only seen a slight dip in the number of tickets its troopers issue, but has noticed the roads getting safer.
According to Mark Welch, FHP captain, "It’s because of the education and enforcement effort of law enforcement, but it goes far beyond that. It’s our legislators who pass laws, like our primary seat belt law.”
Budget cuts are forcing departments to make some tough choices, like ignore traffic violations to focus on more serious crimes.
Nsoyn thinks there’s another factor at play in the declining number of tickets; he says police have a heart. "Before they are officers, they are people too.”
Whether it’s sympathetic police or cash strapped drivers, the decline in tickets is hurting the state budget.
©2007 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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