Fines for speeding tickets going up in state budget

By Joe Moskowitz
New York State’s new budget contains some expensive surprises for motorists convicted of speeding and other traffic violations.

Locally, with more state troopers on the road, more tickets are being written. And, with the state’s new budget, those tickets are going to cost more, but not as much as originally proposed by the governor.

The Catskill Mountain News recently reported that as a result of the graduation of a new class of trooper recruits, the number of troopers at the Margaretville barracks had increased from six to 10, and because of transfers and a retirement, seven of the 10 troopers were new to the barracks.
In Albany, as part of the state’s new budget, lawmakers agreed to a $25 surcharge for speeding tickets, which in court are frequently plea bargained down to certain types of non-moving violations.

Rules changes
However, if they are pled down to failure to obey a traffic control device, in other words running a red light or blowing through a stop sign, then the surcharge will be $88. Speeding tickets, which already carry a surcharge, will cost more. Lawmakers added an additional $80. But it could have been far more expensive.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, claiming the state was losing more than $50 million a year because of plea bargains, wanted to eliminate plea bargains in cases where the driver was traveling more than 20 miles an hour above the speed limit.

The governor claimed it wasn’t just about revenue. He says when speeding is pled down to a lesser offense, there is no way to track repeat offenders. However, the state senate refused and the governor backed off.

Courts should be busy charging the new fees as the state police announced last week that starting Monday, April 1, there would be increased enforcement of certain violations.
State police officials say they are primarily looking for speeders and violators of the “move over” law. Drivers are required to slow down when they see a police or other emergency vehicle parked on the shoulder with its emergency lights flashing. Drivers on roads with more than two lanes are required to move into another lane as soon as it is safe.

The increased enforcement will last one week and will be on a statewide basis.
Troopers say speeding remains the number one cause of traffic fatalities.