Price tag increases for perceived 'break' on speeding tickets
Motorists pulled over by police for speeding at times are given what's been perceived as a break - a ticket for a lesser violation, a lesser fine and no points on their driving record.
The price tag on that courtesy increased Jan. 1 when part of the transportation legislation put into law.
The combined cost for "failure to obey traffic control devices," a summary offense, is now $170, according to Erin Waters-Trasatt, PennDOT deputy press secretary.
That's a $58 increase over the $112 penalty that had been assessed, except in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh where the penalty had been $122.
It had originally been raised to $150 under Act 89 of 2013. A subsequent amendment allowed an additional $20 in surcharges, according to Waters-Trasatt.
Trooper Matthew Burrows, public information officer for Troop F, which includes Northumberland County, said the lesser violation had long been extended by police officers as a courtesy to motorists.
"Most people appeared thankful for that because of the point system," Burrows said. "I'm not sure what the fallout of that really is, really because that's fairly new."
The cost was increased as part of a larger effort to raise $2.3 billion over five years for transportation funding, which includes the $558 million Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway project.
In all, funding will be spent on both state and local roads and bridges, public transit, low-volume rural roads, some turnpike projects and rail lines, airports and shipping ports. The revenue will not only come from an increase in motorist fines and fees but also through a gradual easement of the cap on a state wholesale tax on gasoline over five years.
At $137.50, the least severe speeding violation under the "maximum speed limits" vehicle code is now less expensive than the punishment for "failure to obey traffic control devices." The cost of a speeding ticket can rise, however, depending on the severity of the offense - $2 per mile for each mile in excess of five miles per hour over the maximum limit.
The true cost to a motorist pulled over for speeding could be in the accumulation of points. Whereas "failure to obey traffic control devices" carries no point violation, speeding can bring from two to five points.
If six points are accumulated for the first time, the motorist is subject to a special examination. Suspensions of 15 days and 30 days can follow if a motorist reaches six points for a second or third time.
Any motorist who accumulates 11 points or more are subject to mandatory suspension of a driver's license up to one year.
Information from articles written by Robert Swift, Harrisburg bureau chief for Times-Shamrock Communications newspapers, was used for this article.