2/4/2020Speeding Ticket Industry Offers Bounty To States Issuing More Citations
Insurance industry and state enforcement agencies offer grants for innovative plans to increase the issuance of speeding tickets.
Companies that directly profit from the issuance of speeding tickets are offering cash to state agencies that come up with innovative marketing campaigns in support of the citation blitzes. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced they would pay an unspecified number of state and local agencies up to $200,000 each for qualifying "speed management pilot project" proposals submitted before March 1.
"The findings from the pilot(s) will be used to develop a speed management program template for use by states and communities across the US," the organizations explained in their announcement. "The proposal should describe the use of enforcement countermeasures at the pilot site, including current speed-related enforcement (including the use of automated enforcement, if applicable)... All participating agencies and their personnel would be expected to enforce all traffic laws, but with the focus on speeding."
GHSA and IIHS represent the interests of the speeding ticket industry. GHSA's members include the government officials whose funding depends on steady revenue from speeding tickets, along with groups like the National Coalition for Safer Roads, which is a front group wholly controlled by the photo radar firm American Traffic Solutions (now Verra Mobility). The National Coalition for Safer Roads is listed as one of the entities that helped develop the grant program in an April summit held in Virginia.
Funding for the grant program will come from IIHS, and the insurance industry group is also offering "on site" assistance to local agencies to help them increase output.
"The Insurance Institute is really the gold standard in highway safety," GHSA executive director Jonathan Adkins explained in a webinar discussing the project.
IIHS is the insurance industry's public relations arm. On average, insurance companies collect an extra $1000 in net revenue from each speeding ticket issued by police. Under state laws, insurers like AAA, Geico, State Farm and USAA can raise the annual automobile insurance premiums on drivers who acquire points against their license from moving violations. As the companies do not provide any additional services to point recipients, the extra revenue is pure profit for the industry -- profit measured in the billions of dollars. To protect revenue, IIHS member companies have been caught bribing officials, including judges.
Each pilot project is expected to last six months and include "low cost" engineering countermeasures like speed bumps and pavement markings that use "psycho-perception means to produce the desired effect."
"We don't want lowering speed limits to be the only thing going on in this," GHSA's Pam Fischer said.