Thursday, August 15, 2002

Ky. hikes cost of a ticket

Court fees raised by legislature's action

By Stephenie Steitzer,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Speeding through Kentucky now takes a bigger chunk out of your wallet.

        Effective this month are increased court costs attached to speeding and traffic violations in the Bluegrass State. The price of the fine will stay the same, for example, $55 for going 15 mph over the speed limit.

        But now, instead of paying an additional $184 in court costs, speeders will pay $210.

        State Rep. Jim Callahan, D-Wilder, said the increase wasn't in response to the state's budget woes, even though the fines and court costs brought in $39 million to the state budget last year.

        Mr. Callahan, a co-sponsor of the bill, said it was just routine housekeeping for legislators to look at areas outside the state to determine how Kentucky compares.

        “We thought it was fair to increase those court fines,” he said.

        Hamilton County fines speeders $140 for going 25 mph over the limit — $85 more than Kentucky — and that doesn't necessarily include court costs.

        A spokeswoman for the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts said the court costs are left to the judges' discretion.

        Though Kentucky's purpose for raising the court costs wasn't to deter speeders, police say it will make some people slow down.

        “Anything that we can do to deter people from speeding, reckless driving ... is useful to us,” Kentucky State Police Lt. Lisa Rudzinski said.


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