Posted: December 6th, 2007, 2:13pm EST by Megan Benoit
The Newspaper reports that the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency (NHTSA) is using federal gas tax revenue to fund competitions in which police departments compete to see who can write the largest number of tickets. I know this sounds like an episode of Reno 911! but bear with me… The National Law Enforcement Challenge, as it's called, rewards speeding ticket-happy police departments with federally-funded tricked-out "pursuit vehicles," like the ever popular Hemi-fied Charger. To earn maximum points, the department must also have a zero-tolerance (i.e. no warning) policy in place as well. NHTSA argues that writing more tickets promotes safer driving, but the statistics beg to differ– traffic fatalities in one participating state, South Carolina, are up for the year. While some departments appear to be attempting to use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior, rather than punishing drivers unnecessarily, increased fines (and subsequent revenues) appear to be the order of the day. And the list of winners' "creative" ticketing is downright scary.