Speeders venturing off I-80 in northern California shouldn`t get the wrong idea. The little city of Roseville, north of Sacramento, hasn`t nixed traffic tickets altogether.
But it has cut the number of moving citations issued by a striking 84 percent, and no one`s complaining.
Drivers received 1,317 traffic tickets in the first six months of 2011, compared with 8,236 during the same time last year, after city manager Ray Kerridge, a former engineer, said he wanted police to focus on long-term solutions and not feel pressured to write tickets. Nor did he want drivers to feel ambushed by speed traps.
Officers are now assigned dangerous areas and asked to be creative, consulting with community leaders and traffic engineers if need be.
“If collisions are high at one intersection, tell me how to solve that,” Roseville Police Chief Daniel Hahn says. “It might be red lights, or erecting a median,” or simply beefing up presence at certain hours.
“Well, the whole time you`re doing that — that you`re not writing tickets — you`re solving the problem. You`re permanently solving the problem,” Hahn says.
The results so far? The number of traffic accidents in Roseville, population 115,000, is down 7 percent in the first six months of this year already.
Fewer tickets. Fewer accidents. Cheaper insurance.
Why not do this everywhere?