If you have a need for speed, there’s good news. Florida Governor Rick Scott has passed a new law that forbids local governments from having ticket quotas, which comes after some residents grew concerned the governments were padding their budgets with revenue from speed traps.
“It will definitely put a dent in it. I think you will see things change with the way speed traps have been in the past. I think it’s going to scrutinize a lot more,” said Scott Bartle, a spokesman with the motor club AAA, which has lobbied against speed traps and ticket quotas for decades.
While it is possible for police agencies to use speed traps as legitimate safety measures, one needs only to take a glance at the sheer amount of tickets being given out to see that they’re being used to generate revenue. According to traffic data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 64,983 citations for speeding in posted zones during 2014 in Orange County alone. That’s nearly 65,000 in one county, during one year.
Although passing a bill can be difficult at times — there are over 300 bills waiting for Senate action — Gov. Scott has already signed it into law. On July 1, it takes effect.
Once it does, the new law will require law enforcement agencies to submit reports to Legislature if their traffic ticket revenues cover more than 33% of agency operating costs. It also gives the state attorney general the authority to audit and investigate the agencies in these events.
Proponents of the new law say it ensures government transparency, and prevents police from exploiting drivers. As Bartle explains, “A lot of the roads where you see speed traps set up in the past, they are main arteries coming into Florida that people are taking to enjoy our state and a lot of the things that we do.”