Drivers more likely to get tickets during economic slowdowns - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Drivers more likely to get tickets during economic slowdowns

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With severe budget cuts forcing cities and states to look for ways to increase revenue, some police departments are filling the gap by citing more drivers for speeding and other moving violations.

A 2009 study by the Journal of Law & Economics found a strong link between declining revenue and increased traffic citations. The study examined 96 counties in North Carolina from 1990 to 2003 and determined that significantly more tickets are issued in the year following a decline in revenue. For every 10 percent in negative revenue growth, traffic citations increased by 6.4 percent.

Unfortunately, the surge in traffic citations may not be temporary. The study adds that traffic citations do not decline as local revenue increases.

What does this mean for you? Simply put, the odds that you'll receive a ticket over the next year or two are increasing. And while a single traffic ticket may be excused, depending on the insurer, multiple citations could raise your car insurance premiums significantly.

"Multiple violations raise an automatic red flag for insurance companies, and with each new infraction can come hundreds or even thousands in premium increases," explained Paula Gold, Vice President of Plymouth Rock Assurance, a Boston-based auto insurer.

Of course, the best way to avoid a ticket is to simply slow down and obey all traffic laws.  But even with the best of intentions, many drivers will still end up with tickets on their records.

If you already have a ticket on your record or you receive one in the near future, all is not lost. All insurance companies view drivers differently, so you may be able to save money by shopping around and comparing coverage.