Blame The Budget? CHP Officers Issue 200,000 More Tickets

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Don’t expect any sympathy next time you get pulled over by the California Highway Patrol.

KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports CHP officers have been writing more tickets in an effort that critics say is driven at least in part by pure economics.

Officers handed out 200,000 more traffic citations in 2009 than it did two years earlier, according to the most recent data available.

State and local officials continue to search for ways to drum up additional revenue as Sacramento, Los Angeles and many of California’s biggest cities grapple with massive budget shortfalls.

The increase in CHP tickets produced as much as $50 million over two years with some fines costing as much as $250 — money that officials say goes to fund state and local courts, crime labs, and other departments.

The number of citations made by CHP officers jumped by 8 percent from 2007 to 2009.

Tickets for public safety violations such as excessive speeding and failure to stop dipped across the state between those years, while technical violations such as expired registration tags and faulty tires jumped significantly higher.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

  • Duh!

    We know part of the driving force behind writing tickets is revenue generation.

    There are places where Red Light Cameras have been removed because not enough tickets were being written (meaning not enough revenue was being generated). I thought the whole point was to get people to stop running red lights, not to write more tickets.

  • Larry

    I was going south on the 605 Wednesday about 2:30 in the afternoon. In the fast lane we were moving close to 70 mph. Suddenly, I saw break lights in front of me, and we all slowed to 60 mph. As I approached an overpass, it became evident why we dropped 10 mph in seconds: in the shadows of the overpass bridge (beside the fast lane) was a CHP motorcycle officer pointing his radar gun at oncoming traffic. At what point does revenue overshadow driver safety? He should have been ON the bridge with that radar, not under it creating a traffic hazard.

    • krg

      or maybe people should have been doing the speed limit? Just a thought.

      • Deal

        Larry, if he was on the bridge he would not have been able to get anyone with radar. If you were doing 70 you were speeding….don’t act all self righteous when you get caught doing something you know you should not have been doing….:-)

  • Larry

    …sorry, I meant “brake” lights.

  • Karen

    In downtown LA, at the intersection of 3rd/Flower a single CHP officer sits on his bike all day long waiting to bust drivers. Granted, these drivers are not following strict signs (bus lanes), but it still seems like instead of patrolling the roads, he’s laying in wait to see how many tickets he can write. Based on what I’ve seen (busted 2 in 15 min span one time and *3* drivers all at the same time another time), he must be writing up 25+ tickets a day. Way to go, CHP!

  • Brad Norwood

    If everybody goes to court instead of paying the fine/tax, court system will demand fewer frivolous tickets

    • krg

      How is it a frivolous ticket? If you are doing something illegal or your car has some sort of defect or expired tags you deserve the ticket. Speeding? Deserve it. Running a red light? Deserve it. I’ve driven in LA for many years and got one ticket. My tags had expired and I didn’t realize it. I got a ticket. I paid it and I got my plates fixed. Was it expensive? Yes. Did it suck? yes. But who’s fault was it? Mine. Funny how that take responsibility for your actions thing works.

  • Jackson

    So, where have you guys been? This has been ongoing, absolutely nothing new here.
    Remember folks, never be the fastest car on the road and always keep an eye peeled for those California State Motor Revenuers.
    “California State Motor Revenuers” = California Highway Patrol
    As a side note, the words California Highway Patrol sounds like some kind of roadside service club……

    • Beavis

      Well, maybe this roadside service club will help you last next time you’re trapped in your burning car after an accident. We can only hope…

    • Deal

      Jackson you sound just like a truck driver………never happy always needing something to complain about….if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime…..

  • Tony

    The problem with all of this is that it’s eroding respect for law enforcement. Police are no longer seen as police, but rather pawns in the system to collect “motorist taxes” in the form of citations.

    Here’s a great idea I read in one of my motorcycle magazines some years ago: What if we all drove at or below the speed limit? Every one of us. Those are probably the most profitable tickets, other than HOV lane violations or DUIs. This would bankrupt the system quick; imagine the millions in revenue they’d lose!

  • ray

    It’s all about me. It’s all aout keeping my job. with the cities so low on money, and police able to say “look at how much money we bring in. do you really wanna lay any of us off?” It’s all about job security. I don’t blame them. But all you fools who trip over yourself sucking up to the police – keep in mind these are the guys who are costing us a hell of a lot of money! The city sees no problem in charging outragous amonts for tickets. Wait till you get one, and you’ll change your tune about law enforcement sucking up! Of course by that time, it’s too late isn’t it?

  • upyours

    Cell phones I understand, seat belts I don’t. Not as if they show up at a funeral for someone who died because of not wearing a seat belt. Which is why I don’t give a rat’s as$ when a CHP officer ends up as a hood ornament.

  • CHP

    The California Highway Patrol is funded by 50% of your vehicle registration. The incentive for CHP officer ticket writing is statistics like mileage death rate, reduced injury accidents, traffic complaints etc. CHP officers justify their jobs by showing that increased enforcement made the roads we all drive safe. CHP officers have jobs that many people would not want to do. They see death, major injury collision scenes, write several complex reports, deal with angry motorists, go to court on days off, work nights and weekends, work on all major holidays and many Officers have dodged cars while standing on the side of the road. To say any comment about not caring when another officer gets injured or killed shows a true lack of compassion for people that chose thankless jobs to serve the good people of the general motoring public.

    • Deal

      Good man! Now there is a comment which is not blown out of proportion by the media and every small minded person that has received a ticket from a CHP officer and is mad at them. This is the coprrect information. CHP gets most of its money from registration and nothing else!

  • William Ng

    I wish there was a CHP budget cut ballot coming up. I would be the first to vote yes. Issuing more tickets so the gov get more money is just plain stupid. Cost of processing each ticket is high. A good portion of the money from the tickets are wasted on issuing and processing the ticket itself. Rather fire a bunch of CHP, lower big gov spending, raise vehicle registration, then our state might get out of debt.

  • Deal

    William, how about cutting ALL welfare? That will fix the budget and get rid of these lame duck, lazy, people who are here in California just to collect. Would you want to go out and lok for a job when you get 2 checks a month each about 2000 dollars? That is what welfare is doing…….

  • Are Speeding Tickets on the Rise? | DataRemixed

    […] With the ongoing California state budget crisis, there has been a lot of talk about whether speeding tickets are the new “tax” on the residents of the Golden State. It is difficult to get too far down any of “the” California freeways without finding yourself in the cross-hairs of a CHP radar gun. Local news outlets, using less than a full set of data (as usual), have had a field day. […]

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