Santa’s visit has now been reduced to piles of pillage, bags of crumpled wrapping paper, refrigerators full of left-overs and the after-affects of sticker shock.
Bad economy or not, most of us have no regrets at the money out of pocket.
That is unless we’ve recently encountered one of Florida’s finest, ticket pad in hand.
The cost of traffic fines went up at year’s end — way up — and requirements for mandatory traffic school have been added to some offenses.
Some of the costs, as of Dec. 1?
Get caught speeding 6-9 mph over the speed limit and expect to pay $124. Lead foot it 15-19 mph or 20-29 mph and you’ll have to cough up $249 or $274 respectively with fines much higher in school and construction zones.
Running a red light is up to $224, failure to pay a toll is $199 — plus toll — and parking in a handicapped spot is $179-$250.
The fines for motorcycle offenses are even higher, ranging from $1,159 to $2,659 for an improper tag or popping a wheelie.
The most costly traffic transgression remains driving while intoxicated, however, especially when you weigh in the peripheral costs. The fine alone is $500 to $1,000 with a mandatory 50 hours of community service and up to a year of probation and its related costs.
Add in the price of retrieving your car from impound, attorney fees and lost wages and officials say those monetary expenses can quickly climb to $8,000 for a first offense.
That amount of money can buy a lot of groceries.
Expect to see police patrols out in force this weekend and next.
Expect that they will be on the lookout for speeders, red light scofflaws, and impaired drivers.
Expect that they won’t be too happy about working the holiday — and expect that they take their duties related to prevention seriously.
We hope you had a good holiday, and we wish you a happy and safe New Year.
May 2010 be all you wish it to be.
— Eagle editorial