Traffic tickets are a multi-billion dollar industry. They have virtually nothing to do with highway safety, but they have everything to do with money. When you begin to grasp the full magnitude of the public and private interests that depend on ripping off motorists through traffic tickets, you begin to understand why this unethical system continues to expand every year.
No one knows how many traffic tickets are actually issued. Many local units of government deliberately hide this information so they don’t have to split their traffic ticket revenue with the state. Not including parking tickets, we can estimate that somewhere between 25 and 50 million traffic tickets are issued each year. Assuming an average ticket cost of $150.00, the total up front profit from tickets ranges from 3.75 to 7.5 billion dollars.
If just half of these tickets result in insurance surcharges (typically at least $300 over a period of three years), you can add another 3.75 to 7.5 billion dollars in profit for insurance companies. This is why insurance companies “care” so much about traffic “safety” programs and are willing to donate millions of dollars worth of radar and laser guns to the police. For them, it’s simple: more tickets equal more money!
Realistically, there is no connection between receiving an occasional traffic ticket and the likelihood of being in an accident. So, there is no justification for charging a person more for auto insurance because they were convicted for a random traffic violation. The purpose of insurance is to cover unusual risk. The act of exceeding an unreasonably low limit is hardly an “unusual risk.” That means speeding ticket surcharges are pure profit for the insurance industry.
In total, we’re talking about 7.5 to 15 billion dollars annually from tickets for government agencies and insurance companies. That’s more money than several states take in from all taxes! Worse still, that total doesn’t even include the money that “traffic schools,” attorneys, radar-detector manufacturers, and scanner producers make.