You might want to think twice before putting the pedal to the metal on your next road trip. In a tough economy slacking off behind the wheel is more likely to cost you. According to a 14 year study of 96 North Carolina counties, every one percent decline in local government income means a third of a percent increase in traffic tickets the following year. Drivers say the relationship is to be expected. Derek Bowens said, “That's probably true. It makes sense for it to be true. So I would say I agree with it.” Trooper Ashley Stephenson said regardless of how much revenue the government brings in, the NC Highway Patrol’s focus remains the same. “The Highway Patrol only works one way and that's to keep the roads safe; if we see violations that are clear cut and substantial violations, that's what we issue a citation on.” According to the study, a decrease in government revenue isn't the only indicator of increased traffic citations in tough economic times. The number of people heading to places like the Employment Securities Commission, due to higher unemployment rates also affects the number of people being ticketed for traffic violations. Some drivers aren't concerned about the numbers. It may even make the roads safer. Bowens added, “If you do what you're supposed to do there's no need to worry about it so it's no big concern for me.” But even when the economy starts to speed up again, that doesn't mean you can. According to the study the increase in tickets remain after the recession. According to Trooper Stephenson, it is illegal for highway patrol to issue incentives or quotas for traffic tickets. So if you get one, an officer is not trying to reach a goal by the end of the month.
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