By Clarissa Kell-Holland
A report released in November 2008 by the auditor for the West Virginia Legislature confirmed what truckers have known for many years – that, yes, ticket quotas are alive and well in the “Mountain State.”
The 55-page report was titled “Legislative Performance Review of the West Virginia State Police.” In the report, the state auditor took the state police to task for policies requiring officers to meet a specified number of traffic ticket citations each month or face disciplinary action. Also highlighted in the auditor’s report was the fact that West Virginia does not have a statewide policy for imposing ticket quotas.
OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer told Land Line Magazine that the audit report in West Virginia confirmed a scenario that truckers know “all too well,” which happens in various states and municipalities across the country.
However, he said he has noticed a significant increase in the number of state and local police departments that have stepped up their enforcement efforts. They see it as a way to “boost their revenue sources” as they face budget shortfalls because of declining economic conditions.
Spencer said it is important to point out that even though West Virginia reported increased enforcement efforts, the rate of fatal road accidents did not change significantly.
“This report confirms what we have known for a long time: These ticket quotas do not correlate with improved highway safety,” he said.
The report also states the WVSP is “more focused on road law, as opposed to criminal investigation.”
One trooper told auditors that murder investigations and traffic citations are counted equally, so that if officers spend too much time following up on criminal investigations and are low on their minimum number of “contacts” for the month, “they tell you to go out and write citations.” LL