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Traffic Violations

It is easy for New York residents to assume that police officers spend more time writing traffic tickets for very minor offenses and "ticky tack" violations than actual serious traffic crimes. People see speeding drivers all the time on city streets and freeways blazing by at 15 or 20 miles per hour over the speed limit (and sometimes, the offender is exceeding the speed limit by even greater speeds). Yet these people get away with their ride in many cases.

At the same time, it is not uncommon to see people pulled over for having a tail light out, or having their windows tinted too much. Now, these violations are still safety hazards; but not to the extent of many other traffic violations. Whether it is true or not, the perception many people have of these traffic tickets is that the minor offenses are ticketed too much, possibly because it is easier for the police to knock people for such minutiae.

Well, it seems that this perception is quite true. According to ticket data from the New York Police Department, the department is on pace to write an astonishing 100,000 tickets in 2013 for window tint violations. And if that weren't enough, at least 85 percent of the police precincts in New York fell short of averaging one speeding ticket a day in 2012.

It is another reminder that, in some respects, tickets are arbitrary and random. Obviously that doesn't mean you can simply ignore a ticket, or that you can start driving recklessly because you want to. But what it does mean is that you can go through an appeals process to try and get a ticket expunged from your record.

Source: New York Post, "Most tickets for small fry, cops urged to focus on serious crashes," Rebecca Harshbarger, Sept. 30, 2013

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