The Daily News recently reported that state budget problems may actually be giving motorists a license to speed on New York highways.
According to their sources, NY police have written 10% fewer speeding tickets within the first six months of 2012 than in the first six months of 2011.
Total ticket issuance (for all offenses including speeding) by troopers dropped by 11.6%.
The President of the New York State Troopers PBA explained, “I am surprised it is only down 11% because we just don’t have the manpower.”
He noted that it has been almost 4 years since the state police academy graduated a new class of recruits.
The figures reveal that troopers wrote only 533,878 total tickets from January through early July. This was down from 603,668 during the same period in 2011.
Nevertheless, most state police officials credit drivers for obeying the laws due to the decrease, even though critics believe that it truly is a shortage of officers.
Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said, “We are seeing more motorist compliance, resulting in safer highways, as a result of our traffic enforcement and educational efforts.”
He continued, “New York’s motorists have a better understanding of the potential dangers of speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and driving while distracted.”
D’Amico also emphasized that “[o]ur troopers continue to do an excellent job of preserving public safety, protecting our roads, and helping better promote driver safety.”
In spite of what D’Amico asserts, the state controller’s office explained that the number of troopers decreased from 2,811 in 2008 to 2,647 in July 2011 and only 7 more than that were added in 2012.
A new recruit put it simply when he said, “We are at bare bones.”
Meanwhile, this year’s ticket drop-off extended across all categories of motor vehicle violations, including the failure to use seat belts (which went down by 24%), equipment problems (which went down by 16%) and the failure to use child restraints (which went down by 19%).
Nevertheless, despite this sharp drop in ticket issuance, be sure to properly follow all of the appropriate vehicle and traffic laws. After all, you never know when you might get pulled over.