Sonoma County Traffic Tickets Down, Various Reasons Offered
An interesting trend has developed in Sonoma County; the number of traffic violations resulting in tickets has decreased. According to the Sonoma County Superior Court, tickets are down a shocking 30 percent for the first half of 2013, compared to the same period for the previous year. Considering one of the reasons law enforcement stops people for driving violations is to prevent car accidents, less tickets would seem to be good news. However, the reasons for the decline of tickets are many and varied.
One reason offered is that drivers don’t want to pay the high cost of a ticket and are doing things to prevent getting one. These might include slowing down and stopping a stop signs and red lights. In 2013, an improper turn violation could cost the ticketed driver $243, while driving 26 mph over the posted speed limit would equate to a $480 ticket. So for some, a ticket that could take a large portion of a paycheck isn’t worth it. Also a study showed a correlation between those who have received tickets and traffic accidents. In short, those who have received tickets are more likely to improve their driving habits in the hopes of avoiding future tickets.
Another reason law enforcement posits is that their education programs are working. People are more aware of the dangers of reckless behavior while behind the wheel and are refraining from taking part in these activities. Also since Highway 101 has been undergoing construction for quite some time, that could play a part in the decrease in tickets as well.
A less positive, though still plausible explanation for the decrease, could be the fact there are less law enforcement officers on the streets. Petaluma’s police force is lower than it was several years ago, which means there are less officers on the roads to pull driver’s over.
Regardless of the reason, less tickets could equate to less accidents, which is a good thing for everyone on the roads in Sonoma County. However, accidents have not gone away completely. For those who find themselves victims of an accident, the option to seek compensation for property damage, medical expenses and other economic or non-economic damages exists. Speaking to an experienced legal professional can help a person determine if seeking damages is the best course of action.
Source: Petaluma 360, “Sonoma County drivers slowing down” Paul Payne, Nov. 25, 2013