Catching speeders pays off

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, August 22, 2012

For those who travel on Route 58 with any frequency, it is no surprise to learn that 700 motorists per month are cited for speeding.

For every motorist cited, there are seemingly 10 others driving at excessive speeds.

In fact, if properly staffed to do so, it’s likely the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office could increase the number of speeding tickets it issues by two- or three-fold. The benefits are many, but we’ll limit our argument to two.

First, and most importantly, reducing the number of speeding motorists should create a safer environment for travelers. Traffic on Route 58 is expected to grow substantially in the coming years, and it’s likely to be from tractor-trailers traveling back and forth from the ports to Interstate 95.

Reducing speeds, including the current 60-mph limit along most of Route 58, would improve public safety.

Second, the county could certainly use the money. Based on the $640,000 it received for traffic tickets in fiscal year 2010-2011, doubling the revenue generated by fines for speeding tickets would put a substantial dent in the county’s budget shortfall this past year; tripling it would have basically eliminated the need for the new and highly unpopular, $200-per-household trash fee.

Better to balance the budget on the backs of those who choose to disobey the law, than law abiding citizens who are searching for ways to make ends meet.

Certainly, the hiring of the additional deputies necessary to increase patrols would require some money up front, but would be an investment that would pay for itself in a short period of time before paying substantial dividends – and make the roads in Southampton County a safer place to drive. We think it’s an investment worth making.