Drivers should hit the brakes when traveling through the town of Tonawanda in Erie County. According to analysis from the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, Tonawanda has ranked riskiest for speeding tickets in Western New York for each of the past three years. The majority of the ticket are issued by state police, but about one-third are written by town police.
Last year, approximately 90,000 speeding tickets were given out throughout all of Western New York, half of which were issued in Erie County alone. Surprisingly, smaller villages in Erie County issued just as many tickets as larger cities. For example, the Village of Kenmore Police issued 600 speeding tickets and the Village of Depew Police issued 673 speeding tickets, but the Buffalo Police Department issued 652 speeding tickets during that same time span.
These enforcement efforts have been criticized as speed traps, serving as a source of revenue rather than a safety measure. Last year, drivers submitted a little over $13 million dollars in total fines, nearly $10 million of which went to New York State and various localities. The four highest paying towns were Tonawanda, Amherst, West Seneca, and Cheektowaga, with the towns respectively paying out $881,105, $676,032, $511,699, and $361,701 in fines last year.
However, according to Tonawanda Police Captain Joseph Carosi, the speeding tickets are not about generating revenue. Town police have emphasized speed enforcement as a top safety priority and therefore do not hesitate to issue citations. Motorists have been given tickets for driving as little as 8 miles per hour over the speed limit (a 3 point ticket in New York).“High visibility enforcement is essential to maintain order on the roads,” Carosi said.