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When Economic Times are Bad, the Police Give More Traffic Tickets.

What is the purpose of police giving traffic tickets to drivers? To encourage people to drive safely or to make money for the local government? Many people in Jacksonville, Florida and other cities have suspected that the police are supposed to issue a certain number of traffic tickets a month or year. These requirements are referred to as quotas and would suggest that revenue plays a major role in how many traffic tickets police give to drivers.

A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis looked at the correlation between poor economic conditions and the issuance of traffic tickets. Not surprisingly, the study found that significantly more tickets are issued in years after which a city’s revenue has declined. Specifically, the study found that a 10% decrease in revenue growth for the government in the prior year results in a 6.4% increase in the growth rate of traffic tickets. The study concluded that police give traffic tickets as a means of generating revenue rather than as a tool to increase driver safety on the roads.