Sunday, May 3, 2009

The honey hole

If you believe that the Houston Police Department issues speeding tickets in order to make the roads in the Bayou City safer, you're in for a surprise. KHOU-TV conducted an investigation of 500,000 speeding tickets issued by HPD as well as 50,000 accidents related to speeding between 2006 and 2008, and came to a different conclusion.

In fiscal year 2008, local police wrote $55 million worth of speeding tickets, including delinquent fees.

While public officials claim it’s all about public safety and not the money, the 11 News Defenders discovered police often return to the same “honey holes” as one veteran Houston Police Officer described it. That is, writing tickets in places where it’s easy to write them, rather than targeting unsafe roadways with a history of speeding-related accidents.

11 News analyzed more than 500,000 speeding tickets and more than 50,000 speeding-related crashes from 2006 through 2008. Of the top 10 ticket-writing locations on Houston streets, four were of the “honey hole” variety. These included setting up at the bottom of hills, bridges and overpasses, where even well-intended drivers can let their car’s momentum get them in trouble.

For anyone who's ever practiced, or spent a lot of time, in the municipal courthouse, it's readily apparent what's really going on (See "The tail wagging the dog"). The city is on a money grab, pure and simple. There's a reason why after Hurricane Ike, while the municipal courts were closed, the courthouse was open for people wanting to come in and pay their tickets.

No comments: