Speeding fines rake in millions

The City of Red Deer collected $450,000 less in speeding tickets in 2009 partly because some drivers are neglecting to pay fines.

The City of Red Deer collected $450,000 less in speeding tickets in 2009 partly because some drivers are neglecting to pay fines.

Last year, law enforcement handed out 19,926 photo radar and red light camera tickets compared with 20,442 tickets in 2008. With 516 fewer tickets given in 2009, revenues dropped.

Drivers paid $2,223,042 in photo radar and red light tickets compared with $2,675,761 in 2008.

“We’re finding there were a lot of unpaid tickets and that in all likelihood is leading to that decrease,” said Community Services director Colleen Jensen.

Jensen said the traffic fine money is put back into the city’s policing budget to help offset costs related to the RCMP.

Individuals who ignore their speeding and public parking tickets don’t get off free.

Mike Berezowsky, government spokesman for Service Alberta, said those who skirt these duties cannot register their vehicle or renew their driver’s licence until these tickets are paid.

A new clerk position at the RCMP detachment may also help reduce the number of unpaid tickets. The individual will input data regarding warrants for tickets.

“Warrants can be put out for people who don’t pay their tickets,” said Jensen. “I know near the end of 2009 they did a little test in terms of phoning people and had collected a fair chunk of change. We’re trying to do more of that in 2010.”

While speeding ticket revenues slipped, other traffic fines like going through stop signs and seatbelts rose by nearly $110,000 from the previous year.

A total of $1,021,500 was paid in traffic violations in 2009, up from $911,537 the year previously.

Mounties wrote nearly 390 more seatbelt tickets in 2009 — 1,480 as opposed to 1,093 in 2008.

The gross budget for RCMP this year is $21.9 million, plus $5.5 million in revenues. The net impact to taxes is about $16.3 million.

The photo radar budget this year stands at nearly $585,000, a savings of about $50,000 from 2009.

After the service was retendered, Jensen said the existing contractor lowered its price for its cost per ticket and photo, plus equipment.


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