With six weeks left in 2017, there have been 443 more tickets written this year in Franklin County than all of 2016 and technology may be the reason why.
According to county municipal court records, as of Nov. 13, 3,831 tickets had been written either by sheriff’s deputies or for planning and zoning or building violations. In 2016, the combined total was 3,388.
Of the tickets this year, 70 were planning and zoning violations and 10 were building violations.
The remaining 363 were written by sheriff’s deputies and then disposed through the county municipal court, which thus far has opened 4,717 cases in 2017.
Joseph Purschke, who is the prosecuting attorney for the municipal court, says when someone is issued a ticket one of three things happens.
“About 50 percent pay the ticket by mail,” Purschke said. “Another 40 percent get a lawyer or show up in court and the other 10 percent we never hear from again.”
Purschke added bench warrants are eventually issued for those who ignore their violation or traffic citation and a simple issue then becomes a greater charge.
Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Maj. T. J. Wild said the increase in traffic tickets has a few sources, but all goes back to traffic safety and decreasing the number of fatal crashes.
“We’ don’t tell guys to go out and just write tickets, but we tell them to be vigilant,” Wild said. “So far this year to date we are up over the past three years.”
Wild said one attribution to the tickets being increased is the full staffing of the traffic safety unit after it being down a deputy or two for the past two years.
“For many years it seemed we hit a plateau,” Wild said. ‘Now, it seems like we are making a difference.”
He added other deputies were shuffled into the traffic division who specifically requested the duty.
“Across the board, speeding tickets in the 11 to 15 miles per hour over is up,” Wild said. “Speeding 16 to 19 miles per hour over the speed limit is also up as its insurance tickets. At the same time, crashes and fatalities are way, way down.”