Fines Are Now Revenue: Speeding, Parking Tickets on Rise as Government Revenue Source

Beware your traffic tickets are going up, up and up … They need your money NOW!

Drivers across the country, beware — a heftier fine could be coming to a dashboard near you. Faced with rising deficits and dwindling revenues, many states and local municipalities are turning to increased traffic and parking fines to fill their coffers.

In California, the cost of a “fix-it ticket” nearly tripled on Jan. 1, meaning that drivers in the Golden State can pay up to $100 for having a broken headlight — an infraction that didn’t even garner a citation years ago. A bill approved by the state Legislature raised fix-it fines to $25 from $10 and hiked surcharges on regular traffic tickets by $35. Parking tickets and court costs to attend traffic school also increased, by $3 and $25 respectively.

Motorists in Pensacola, Fla., saw fines for parking in front of a fire hydrant or in a fire lane skyrocket from $10 to $100 — a 900 percent increase — after the city’s Downtown Improvement Board reportedly unanimously approved the hike earlier this month. Statewide, speeding fines also increased by $10 this month, along with an increase of an additional $25 for exceeding the speed limit by 15 to 29 miles per hour.

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