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Traffic ticket costs may be at an all-time high in California, but Arizona may be heading in the opposite direction.

By a 7-2 vote, the state House of Representatives' Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed a bill that would fix the fine for speeding at 10 mph or less at $15. Under the proposed measure from Tucson Republican David Stevens, insurance companies could not use a " waste of finite resources" ticket to raise insurance rates and the state cannot use it as a basis for license suspension.

The new law would not apply in school zones, construction zones, certain residential areas and a few other places.

Many of us grew up with the old adage that "speed kills." Like so many other similar sayings, there is only a kernel of truth in this statement. Excess speed increases braking time, because the faster an object travels the longer it takes to stop. Speed also increases the force in a collision, because the bigger they are, or the faster they are, the harder they fall. At speeds between 45 and 55 MPH, both these factors are negligible, at best.

Let's assume that a Bakersfield driver is travelling 55 mph in a 45 mph zone. If the speeder causes an accident, perhaps by rear-ending another vehicle, there would be about 20 percent more force. That amount may be enough to make a fender-bender into a somewhat more serious accident, but there is not a night-and-day difference.

Next, consider braking time. Whereas a car travels 66 feet per second at 45 mph, it travels 81 fps at 55 mph. That's an additional 15 feet, or roughly one car length, which is hardly a factor in breaking distance. Moreover, many newer cars in Fresno have sensors that automatically apply the brakes in potential rear-end collision situations.

Arizona is on the right track. At these velocities, a speeding ticket has very little to do with safety and everything to do with revenue. California would do well to follow suit.

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