Written by Gregory Monte.
With the Fourth of July just around the corner, I decided it was a good time to issue the first in a series of analyses of speeding ticket data for Pennsylvania. Like most states, the Pennsylvania State Police increase their traffic enforcement around the holidays. What you will read about in this blog post may actually be helpful if you are traveling in our Great Commonwealth in the next couple of days.
I started with the most recent data I could find – the number of speeding tickets issued during the last big enforcement push – Memorial Day Weekend 2019 (5/24 – 4/27). When I have more time, I fully intend to break the information down on a county-by-county basis, but for now I just singled out the State Police Troops that issued fewer than 400 speeding tickets over that weekend and those that issued more than 1500.
Here is what I discovered:
- Troops D, P & R issued a total of 1,116 speeding tickets
- Troops A, F & G issued a total of 5,109 speeding tickets.
That is a whole lot more tickets issued by those latter Troops, don’t you think?
Of course, these raw numbers don’t tell us much because you really need to know something about the populations “served” by those Troops. Obviously, if the A, F & G population is much higher than the D, P & R population, then the higher number of tickets is understandable.
Well, that is not the case – not by a long shot.
The “Cowboy” Troopers
The D, P & R Counties are: Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, Bradford, Luzerne, Sullivan, Wyoming, Lackawanna, Pike, Susquehanna & Wayne. The total population is: 1,384,947.
The A, F & G Counties are: Cambria, Indiana, Somerset, Westmorland, Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Tioga, Bedford, Blair, Centre, Fulton, Huntingdon, Mifflin/Juniata. The total population is: 1,450,732.
You can immediately see that the populations are not all that much different. This is your first hint that something is not quite right here. But when you actually do the math, you REALLY start to get an idea about how aggressive those A, F & G Troopers appear to be:
Tickets Issued per Population Total:
- D, P & R Troops – 0.00081
- A, F & G Troops – 0.00352
In case you are somewhat “math challenged” (sorry, as a teacher I couldn’t help but use this expression), you are more than 4x as likely to be given a speeding ticket by one of the “Cowboys” in Troops A, F & G than you would be by those “Reasonable” D, P & R Troopers.
A Caveat and a Promise of More Research to Come
Now, could it be possible that the highways in the A, F & G counties are more traveled over the Memorial Day Weekend and so the ticket/population percentages are not truly representative of how likely it is you will get a ticket?
Perhaps, and future analysis will tell if this is the case.
In the meantime, would I be off-base to suggest that the Pennsylvania State Police in Troops A, F & G are somewhat more “liberal” when they decide to issue speeding tickets as opposed to their D, P & R counterparts?
Again, time and future analysis will tell.