Despite study results, local police say speeding tickets not tied to economy

By Carrie Weil - bio | email
Posted By Mike Dever - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The sour economy has many city governments looking to drum up funds in creative ways. A new study set to be released next month may have you putting on the brakes. It's a horrible feeling anytime you get pulled over. And with everyone living on a tight budget, one speeding ticket can really hurt.

The study - called "Red Ink in the Rearview Mirror" - looked at 14 years of data from 96 North Carolina counties. And the numbers were clear: a drop of one percentage point in local government revenue leads to an estimated three-tenths of a percentage point increase in the number of traffic tickets the next year. The study also found that, on the county level, the number of speeding citations issued went up if the unemployment rate went up.

We did some investigating to see if those numbers held true in Kentucky. We found that, across Kentucky this year, even as the economy tanked, ticket writing was at its lowest level the last three months of the year. (See numbers below.)

Kentucky State Police tell me they've not been told to write more tickets to the coffers, and I heard the same thing from the LMPD.

"I've been in law enforcement in this community nearly 20 years," said LMPD Sgt. Robert Biven. "And I've never seen from the JCPD side or the Louisville Division of Police side any types of quotas or mandates as far as writing tickets or traffic enforcement."

We also learned just twenty dollars of the $125 court cost fine is returned to local police departments. Some money also goes to county sheriff's offices and court systems. The rest goes to the state. (See numbers below).

Speeding Tickets in Kentucky for 2008:
January - 16,984
February - 15,456
March - 16,839
April - 17,801
May - 23,871
June - 17,696
July - 18,456
August - 18,536
September - 20,325
October - 13,659
November - 15,669
December - 13,431

How the $125 Court Cost of a ticket is divided:

Per KRS 42.320 Court cost distribution fund

49% -      General Fund
10.80% - Ky Local Facilities Construction Authority
6.50% -   SCHIR Fund
5.50% -   TBI Fund
5% -        AOC - DCE fee
3.5% -     Public Advocate
3.4% -     Crime Victim's Fund
.7% -       Justice Cabinet (Brady Bill)
10.1% -   County Sheriff's departments
5.5% -     County Fiscal courts

Effective 7/13/04:
80% or $100 of Court Cost is distributed as listed above16% - or $20 - 50%

Local Gvt. Certified Police Officers Employed; 30% Local Gvt. w/Police Departments; 20% Fiscal Court Transport Prisoners

4% - or $5 -100% Cabinet for Health Services - Telephonic Behavioral Health Jail Triage System