A popular Internet hoax claims that the California Highway Patrol plans
to conduct a "speeding ticket frenzy.
The email claims that officers are ordered to write at least one speeding
ticket every ten minutes, targeting motorists that are driving at least
seven mph over the posted speed limit. Most versions of the email contain
references to specific roadways, such as Interstate 5 or Highway 58 between
Mojave and Las Vegas. The stated goal of this
"speeding ticket frenzy" is to raise money for the state, and not necessarily to increase safety.
Periods of heightened traffic enforcement are not uncommon, but traffic
ticket quotas are illegal in California.
The email is not entirely fallacious, as speeding tickets are primarily
a revenue-generation device. Speeding is easy to enforce on the street
and easy to prove in court. According to Vehicle Code Section 22000, the
prima facie speed limits
in accordance with the type of roadway:
To deviate from the
prima facie speed limit, there must be an engineering study or traffic study that
proposes an alternative speed limit due to road conditions or traffic
The bottom line is that California had a variable speed limit system that
is designed to raise money. This mindset gives a traffic ticket attorney
in Bakersfield the ability to reduce either the fine or the points: a
plea agreement means lower cost for the state, and the state does not
care nearly as much about the points as it cares about the money.