Speeding citations have dropped 25% in the past 2 years. Why is that?

According to the Chicago Sun-Times,

A Sun-Times analysis of more than 120,000 speeding tickets issued in 2011 and 2012 in the city and parts of 13 counties surrounding the Chicago area found 25 percent fewer tickets were issued to drivers from 2010 to 2012…

From 2007 to 2011, there was a 3.8 percent decrease in the number of vehicle miles driven, and a 1.7 percent decrease in the number of registered motor vehicles, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

So why did the numbers drop so suddenly after 2011, when there was only a minor reduction in the four years previous?

I have to believe that new laws that greatly increased the penalties for aggravated speeding have had an effect.  Beginning in 2011, speeding 31 or more miles over the speed limit became a class B misdemeanor, punishable up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. (Since 2000, speeding 40 or more mph over the limit has been a Class A misdemeanor).

This means that as of 2011, all sorts of people who have never committed a “criminal” act in their lives were now being charged with serious misdemeanors.

That means legal fees, and fear of going to jail and/or a criminal record.  On top of this, the court fines and costs have been going through the roof.  In many counties, it is not unusual to pay $600 or more for a speeding ticket.

Keep in mind that these numbers do not reflect the even harsher speeding law that went into effect July 1, 2013.  Now, supervision as a sentence is not available for anyone going more than 25 mph over the limit in an urban area or 31 mph on a non-urban highway.  So a high speeder will become a convicted criminal.  This may cost the driver employment opportunities that will far exceed the cost of the fine.

Personally, I feel that these laws have gone too far and that anyone accused of aggravated speeding should be given an opportunity for supervision and/or a chance to clear his or her driving record after several years of good driving.

What do you think?

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