Big Brother to issue LA traffic tickets?

He’s in Oxnard already and most likely coming soon to LA. If red light camera tickets weren’t annoying enough, welcome to the world of digital tickets. In this economy local governments are looking for any way they can to raise revenue without raising taxes, and technology is giving them a way to issue more tickets without hiring additional deputies. The new “digital ticket” concept is making it’s way around the globe as we speak.

A digital ticket is any type of device which automates the process of issuing traffic violations. For example, the device can use the bar code of a California driver’s license to populate a form using software and then present the officer with drop down boxes to select the violation. Digital tickets also present advantages for sending courtesy or bail notices as well as tracking payments and failures to appear. Automation will also allow for more efficient implementation of collection efforts such as suspended licenses, warrants, and even garnished wages, tax returns, public benefits, etc.

Law enforcement and local government will certainly trumpet the concept as a way to “increase officer safety” and “improve efficiency”, but the real story here is making more money by issuing more tickets without hiring more officers. In time, we could even see an internal backlash from traffic enforcement officers as they begin to realize that their job could be outsourced to an ipad.

According to an article in the Ventura county Star here, the device is already being used by Port Hueneme police. Once section of the article tells you everything you need to know, “The department leased the device for $5000 a year” and “The device pays for itself with productivity gains”. According to the article, the officer using the device wrote twice as many tickets in September than in a normal month.