North Carolina

‘There’s no conspiracy’: NC police adamant traffic tickets don’t make agencies rich

What to do when police pull you over

A Raleigh video about what motorists should expect when stopped says you should answer all questions from an officer. But the state's driver's license handbook points out you are not legally required to answer questions after identifying yourself.
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A Raleigh video about what motorists should expect when stopped says you should answer all questions from an officer. But the state's driver's license handbook points out you are not legally required to answer questions after identifying yourself.

A North Carolina police department is refuting the idea that it’s getting rich off traffic tickets.

The Wake Forest Police Department posted on Facebook on Thursday outlining where the money from each traffic ticket ends up to counter the argument that it’s issuing traffic tickets to make money for the town or the police department.

Wake Forest is a town in Wake County, about 18 miles from Raleigh.

Police departments have often been accused of setting “speed traps” to make revenue.

Speed traps are speed limits below the average speed on a road, and “sacrifice safety for revenue,” according to the National Motorists Association, which “protects the interests of North American motorists” and works for “more reasonable speed limits,” according to its website.

But the Wake Forest Police Department said writing tickets is about safety, not money.

When the department issues a $190 ticket, the town gets $5, according to the police department. The majority of the money, $146.55, goes to the state general fund

In 2018, the town made $16,000 from traffic tickets, which accounted for .0004% of its annual revenue, the department said.

“Thus, there’s no conspiracy, no quotas or ulterior motives and certainly no get rich scheme motivating the Police Department to write tickets,” the department wrote. “Instead, it’s simply one of the ways they work to keep us safe.”

It said tickets are one of the ways to ensure everyone’s safety.

“Drunk driving, aggressive driving, racing and other careless actions by some drivers contribute to hundreds of deaths each year in North Carolina,” it wrote on Facebook. “Let’s be thankful our officers are doing all they can to try and eliminate road-related fatalities and injuries in our community.”

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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