circa 1956: A New York State Trooper calls in, having just detected a speeding motorist. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)  class=

Back in '56, he might have let you off with a warning. Today? Maybe not. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

By Mark Memmott

OK, lead foot. Better ease up on the gas if you want to avoid a ticket.

USA TODAY writes this morning that "the recession may be claiming a new victim: the 5-10-mph 'cushion' police and state troopers across the USA have routinely given motorists exceeding the speed limit."

Basically, to make up for lost revenue because a weak economy has cut into tax collections, state and local governments are encouraging officers to be less forgiving.

It's not an unusual response to economic problems. And among the evidence to back up that claim is a 2009 paper published in The Journal of Law & Economics, in which researchers reported that "significantly more tickets are issued in the year following a decline in (tax) revenue" -- and that "the issuance of traffic tickets does not decline in years following revenue increases."

So, safety isn't the only reason to slow down these days.

categories: National News

9:40 - March 31, 2010