1. Governments and Courts
Court systems make a lot of revenue off of traffic tickets. When compared to other fines given out, traffic tickets are far and above the biggest money raisers for the local governments. The way the system is set up will vary in different states, but generally, city, county, and state governments will benefit.
The courts are the biggest beneficiaries of traffic ticket revenue, which is then partially used to pay salaries to the court workers, which includes judges and lawyers. If this extra revenue didn't exist, the costs associated with running court systems would increase and money may need to be taken from other important programs, or, even worse, it could result in higher taxes.
2. State Safety and Education Programs
Money from traffic violations also serves to fund local programs. These programs vary for different areas, but common programs include Click-it-or-Ticket and the like. It should be noted that traffic ticket revenue doesn't always fully cover the costs of these programs. It depends on the state. Often times, a certain category of tickets will be dedicated to funding a specific program, such as only speeding tickets. Ticket revenue may also be used to advertise and promote driver safety. In some instances, ticket revenue is used to hire more law enforcement officials to satisfy regional demands.
3. Legal Information Systems
Operating the state's computer programs takes money too of course. These information systems are used to keep track of parking tickets, payments, felony profiles, and other important information. The ticket revenue partially covers maintenance and worker wages. The local DMV may also see some of the revenue from traffic tickets.
4. Document Filing Fees
There are other costs associated with maintaining traffic databases as well. Some areas require much more computer storage space than less-dense areas to efficiently store traffic data. Ticket revenue partly goes to purchasing data storage space and servers to carry the information.
5. Local Public Safety Technology
Technology is constantly evolving, and traffic technology is no exception. For example, some areas require new equipment like LED traffic lights, improved traffic devices, and traffic cameras that help to improve road safety for everyone. In just about every case, these devices are used to lower traffic costs or improve safe driving awareness.
6. Improving Air Quality
A number of states, such as California, spend a significant portion of their ticket revenue on helping clean the air of certain urban areas. The revenue goes to multiple clean air programs, including educational programs and enforcement of lower emission requirements. In addition to traffic tickets, pollution fees also contribute to this fund.
7. Medical Funds
A large number of states have designated medical funds to treat people who are involved in accidents (largely traffic accidents) who do not have insurance and can't afford the medical bills. Many times, a public emergency department will offer health services to people without expecting to be paid back for it. Thus, ticket revenue serves to allow these programs to operate and help people who may otherwise not receive medical care in an accident.
You can now see why traffic tickets aren't all that bad. The cops aren't out to get you. Anyways, if you do happen to get a ticket, you can enroll in a traffic school course and have your ticket penalties reduced or eliminated. In addition to those benefits, you are also becoming a better driver and keeping you, your family, and other people on the road safe.