The Texas Senate recently approved a bill to raise fines for speeding. The bill states that a person driving 25 miles per hour or more above the speed limit can be given a fine of up to $500. The new bill follows the previous law that capped the speeding fines at $200.
Senator Steve Ogden, R-College Station, said Texas leads the nation in traffic fatalities and 30 percent of those deaths are the result of excessive speeding. He said statistics also show a greater chance of accidents when people are going 25 mph or more over the speed limit.
Ogden said under the new legislation, municipalities would have to send $200 of the total fine to the state every time they issued tickets to drivers going 25 mph or more over the posted speed limits. He said the $200 sent to the state would be used for a Texas Department of Safety program.
Senator John Whitmire, D-Houston, said some people would probably end up going to jail because they cannot pay the new increased fine. He said in addition to the fine people will also have to pay court fees.
The Senate also approved a bill that will allow a county commissioner’s court to reduce the speed limit on a road that is not within an incorporated municipality or part of the state highway system to 20 mph.
Some students at Sam Houston State said they do not agree with the increase in fees.
“I think the new speed limit law is a bunch of hooey,” sophomore Vincent Mims said. Freshman Daniel Garner said he thinks the government is increasing the fees in order to make to make more money.
Sophomore Johnny Dodson said he does not agree with the large increase in the fine, but can see a beneficial side to it.
“I think that a fine over $200 is ridiculous for a speeding ticket, but it will probably make me think twice the next time I want to speed,” Dodson said.
Junior Jeffrey Bowden said he disagrees with the concept of a flat rate for a speeding ticket because some people make so much money that it is not a problem for them to pay the increased amount.
“Speeding is very dangerous and people should be more careful in their vehicles but I don’t know if raising the fines will change anything,” Bowden said. “Why would it make a difference to me if the fine was $100 or $500 if I’m sitting on $10 million?” Bowden said people should have a certain percentage taken out of their incomes for speeding tickets, and that this would keep people with a lot of money from speeding, as well.
Freshman Matthew Elliott said he thinks the increase in the fine is much too large.
“I really don’t like the idea of being fined $500 for speeding, that is pretty stiff,” he said. “Police really must really be trying to crack down. Of course, you could always take defensive driving.”
Sophomore Susan Westbrook said she is going to try to avoid having to pay the new fee.
“I guess I’ll either have to start driving slower, or find a rich ‘sugar daddy’ that doesn’t mind paying my fines,” Westbrook said. “Either way, I don’t have positive feelings toward the change.”