It was just reported that local police are writing fewer traffic citations. In Dallas, police issued 37,000 fewer traffic tickets than the previous year. In fact, the number of traffic tickets issued per year has been in steady decline since 2007, when over 495,000 tickets were issued.
While part of the decline is due to fewer traffic violations, others have pointed to a shift in focus to violent crimes and reductions in the number of police. The Dallas Police Department has shifted its resources to fighting violent crimes and property crimes, as have other police units throughout the state. The police motorcycle unit has also been cut in half over the years, from over 40 officers to just over 20. As a result of fewer tickets being issued, the municipal court and detention services budget declined by $757,000 this year, and 11 vacant positions were removed.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown noted that traffic enforcement is meant to improve traffic safety, rather than raise revenue for the city. Even during a time of staff and revenue reductions, traffic fatalities have remained below what they were in 2006 and 2007 — 128 fatalities versus 144.
If the reduced number of traffic tickets can be traced mainly to reduction in traffic violations, then that is a win for everyone, as it means better driver safety. On the other hand, if the reduced number is equally due to smaller budgets and less ability for police officers to be available to write tickets, then that is a concern, as it means more drivers will be able to get away with violating traffic laws and endangering the lives of others.
Yet one thing that should not be the focus is the city’s revenue. If fewer traffic tickets are being issued because people are actually driving responsibly, city officials should be pleased — and find another source of revenue. As the Dallas police chief noted, traffic tickets are meant to improve safety first and foremost.
In the meantime, those who are injured in a car accident have the option of filing a lawsuit against those responsible. If you live in Dallas or Fort Worth, contact an experienced car accident attorney today to learn what to do to ensure your rights.
Bill Berenson has been representing Texans injured in accidents for more than 33 years. Located in Fort Worth and with offices throughout the Metroplex and in Houston, he only represents clients injured by accidents involving cars, trucks, 18 wheelers, bicycles and motorcycles. If you want an experienced Board Certified personal injury specialist who will provide you with compassionate legal representation, contact him today to schedule a free initial consultation.