Many speed enthusiasts say traffic tickets are mostly about raising money, but a study finds that cash-strapped, speed-trap towns are safer.The researchers looked at data involving more than 300 municipalities in Massachusetts, from 2001 to 2003, when rigorous records of traffic stops were kept. They looked for links between a town's level of fiscal distress, the number of tickets issued and accidents. Towns in fiscal trouble did, indeed, issue significantly more tickets, data analysis found—especially to out-of-towners.The typical town had 37 accidents a month. Depending on the statistical techniques used, such accidents fell by a range of four to 14 for every 100 additional tickets issued by a money-hungry town, the authors said. There was also a decline in injuries, though not deaths.
"More Tickets, Fewer Accidents," Michael D. Makowsky and Thomas Stratmann, Journal of Law and Economics (November)