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Pre-pay your traffic tickets

Save yourself the hassle
  [vote for,

Many people get several traffic tickets each year. I'd like to see an option that allows you to put, at the start of of the year, up to $1000.00 into an account with the police department, with the understanding that any traffic fines you recieve are taken out of the deposit. At the end of the year, you get the remainder back, and the interest accumulated goes toward public funding for things such as road maintenance, training more policemen in undermanned areas, etc.

As an incentive for good driving, the police department can give you a voucher for free registration if you go the whole year without any fines.

21 Quest, Jan 01 2007

Sale of Indulgences http://www.halfbake..._20of_20indulgences
by 8th of 7. Specifically includes traffic offences. [calum, Jan 03 2007]


       Surely if you've already handed the money over, you'll be less careful about obeying the speed limits? I think it's a psychological thing.
david_scothern, Jan 01 2007

       Not if you want the money back. My incentive is the free registration every year.
21 Quest, Jan 01 2007

       I also think it's a good idea to keep a negative balance on your credit cards (in case some hidden expense gets charged and accrues interest without you knowing). Rich people have such an advantage, to be able to do this.
phundug, Jan 01 2007

       Do people deserve to be given incentives to obey the law? Can I deposit $1000 with the police department and receive a gift voucher if I don't shoplift that year?
imaginality, Jan 01 2007

       what [imaginality] said
pertinax, Jan 02 2007

       ..and what about interest?
xandram, Jan 02 2007

       I think this would benefit both the citizens and the police. It ensures that the police are guaranteed payment for the tickets issued to people who use this. Also, I've been re-thinking the bit about interest, and that came out differently than the way I intended. I'll edit the post accordingly.

       Remember, the Constitution (and the laws created under it) was created "by the people, for the people", so why not do something "for the people" who abide by it?
21 Quest, Jan 02 2007

       How much is the regular fee for registration?
angel, Jan 02 2007

       Depends on the state and the type of vehicle, I think. Last year, for me, it was about forty bucks. Not too expensive, but I'd be willing to modify my driving to get it for free. That's almost two tanks of fuel for my car.

       (edit) //$30 PLUS a fee based on weight of vehicle. For example:

       0–4,000 lbs: $10

       4,001–6,000 lbs: $20

       6,001–8,000 lbs: $30//

       That's a quote from the DMV online registration site.
21 Quest, Jan 02 2007

       Aside from my ethical objection above, which I still stand by, I have a practical question: what's the minimum deposit required? If you can deposit $10 and qualify (driving permitting) for the reward, why would anyone want to deposit more than that?
imaginality, Jan 02 2007

       I think the hassle is part of the penalty (if that makes sense).

       I still voted thumbs up though ..
britboy, Jan 02 2007

       Minimum will probably be the amount of the lowest ticket in the region. If you are fined at any point then you don't get the voucher.
21 Quest, Jan 02 2007

       Let's say the lowest ticket fine is $150. Then this proposal is offering drivers between 27% and 40% rate of return (depending on size of car). Let's take the middle figure, 33% (a $50 voucher if you aren't ticketed that year).

       I don't know what proportion of drivers get fined each year, but my intuition says it's less than half, which means that the government will be paying out somewhere between 16% and 33% of the funds deposited, in the form of vouchers (let's say 20%). They might be earning perhaps 10% interest on the funds. So this is costing them 10% of the funds deposited each year.

       Say 10 million drivers register for this. That's $1.5 billion invested. That's a $150 million cost to the government each year (vouchers issued minus interest earned). Is the increase in proportion of fines paid, and the possible reduction in accidents if drivers do significantly modify their behaviour, enough to justify this cost? (Maybe, I don't know, just raising the question.)
imaginality, Jan 02 2007

       Bun. I mostly like this idea because it exposes traffic fines as what they are: taxation without representation.

       This is a good first step towards illuminating the problem of police departments acting as a government-sponsored corporation rather than a civil service.
ed, Jan 02 2007

       Ok. The registration fee was just a suggestion. Incentives could vary state-by-state. And the program is completely voluntary. If you really can't afford it, don't put a deposit down.
21 Quest, Jan 02 2007

       I'd still worry about them somehow processing my ticket wrong. Nothing like showing up in person to make sure everything turns out okay.
flynn, Jan 02 2007

       The City may also benefit because drivers would be less likely to fight tickets in court. (Since the money's in an account somewhere, it wouldn't sting so much to pay the ticket.)
phundug, Jan 02 2007

       //Last year, for me, it was about forty bucks ... That's almost two tanks of fuel for my car.//

Geez, you Statesiders have it easy. Road tax is £190 per year for me, and a tank of diesel runs about £60 (£0.92 per litre).
angel, Jan 03 2007

       There is a very strong case that this is redundant, [21]. See link.
calum, Jan 03 2007

       //3. It reduces criminality and REPORTED crime.//

       //You lose your money, but you don't get a criminal record.//

       The above quotes are from the linked idea, and therein lies the main difference here. My idea does not allow you to buy your way out of punishment or points against your license, which would encourage and *increase* crime rates.
21 Quest, Jan 03 2007

       Indeed, there is a difference, but the difference is with respect to one of the the effects of the mechanism, not the mechanism itself, which is the meat of the idea. Hence my suggestion of redundancy.
calum, Jan 03 2007

       Make the deposit at least $500 to make it worthwhile. Also, to make it fair, require everyone in the program to display a "deposit deduction" decal on your car so that the officer will give you a ticket first.
Jscotty, Jan 03 2007

       That's a very good idea. A ticket would serve as a receipt so if they mess up and take too much from your deposit, you have proof of how much should be correctly deducted.
21 Quest, Jan 03 2007

       21, ahem, <cough> receipt.
po, Jan 03 2007

       Didn't something like this show up in the 95 Theses?

       EDIT: Why do I always think it's 99?
shapu, Jan 03 2007


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