The reasons are in dispute, but the trend is clear, says the Sacramento Bee: The California Highway Patrol is handing out more traffic citations than it did a few years ago, and that has generated tens of millions of dollars in new revenue for state and local government. As the state and cities wrestled with shrinking revenue and growing budget gaps, the California Highway Patrol issued about 200,000 more traffic citations in 2009 than it did two years before.
Sacramento Superior Court processed 37,000 more traffic filings last year than in 2006 – a 16 percent increase. Driver advocates say that such growth in traffic enforcement is happening all over the country and that the timing isn’t coincidental. They contend that state and local governments nationwide have been raising revenue by issuing more traffic citations. With the average fine costing as much as $250 and rising, the increase in California tickets produced as much as $50 million over two years. That money went to state and local courts, crime labs and other purposes.