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Each one percent increase in traffic tickets reduces accidents by 0.28 percent.

That was the finding in a 2014 study from Massachusetts. The researchers collected data during a "Click It Or Ticket" STEP campaign. In The Bay State, a seat belt violation is a secondary ticket, so motorists must be speeding or making an illegal turn or doing something else before they can be ticketed for no seat belt. The tickets had the largest impact on driving safety at night and in densely populated areas. The intense media campaign associated with STEP enforcement may have also played a role.

The authors suggested "allocating more resources toward municipalities with higher population densities and increase traffic enforcement at night."

Safety vs. Revenue

This study may lay out a road map for safer roads in Tulare County through targeted traffic enforcement. Instead of writing speeding tickets on the freeway during the day, law enforcement should strive to change peoples' driving habits by writing non-speeding tickets at night in urban areas. But that will probably not happen. Speeding tickets are easier to write during daylight hours, there are more speeders on highways like I-5 than in urban areas, and these citations are easier to prove in court than some other violations.

Until resources are shifted toward enforcing non speed violations in the streets of Bakersfield and Fresno, it will be apparent that the state is more interested in your money than in your well-being.

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