I recently secured through a Freedom of Information Act request 2014 data on the Traffic Violations Bureau (“TVB”) and share the following overall and court-specific statistics:
- TVB collected just under $63 million from motorists who pled guilty in person or who were found guilty after hearings. This total consists of fines, surcharges and suspension termination fees.
- TVB collected an additional $56 million from motorists who pled guilty online. This total consists of fines, surcharges and suspension termination fees.
- TVB conducted almost 400,000 hearings in 2014 with roughly 58% of them resulting in guilty determinations. Motorists won their cases when a police officer failed to show (on one or two occasions) 15% of the time and in an actual hearing with a police officer present motorists beat the traffic violation charge 27% of the time.
So which branches of the Traffic Violations Bureau are the best and worst for motorists?
- The Staten Island TVB is still the worst for motorists. Motorists were likely to be found guilty 73% of the time at this location (15% higher than the TVB average). Further, percentage wise the judges there exercised their discretion to suspend more motorists significantly more than any of the other 9 TVB locations.
- The best TVB courts for motorists in regard to conviction rates were the Buffalo TVB (40% conviction rate), followed by Manhattan South (51%), Brooklyn South (52%) and Manhattan North (53%).
So what does these figures demonstrate? Not surprisingly, they show that winning a case at any of the TVB courts is very hard and that DMV is raking in a huge amount of money from its TVB system.
Ok, but seriously, the consequences of so much as touching or being suspected of touching a device are draconian in all disproportion to the possible consequences. I myself am in the midst of being crucified for touching a sanding block (I am a handyman who was returning a borrowed truck at the time that an officer witnessed a black rectangular object in my hand), and while the particulars do not matter, now I am up to over a thousand dollars in fees. I make maybe twenty thousand a year. This is madness. How does an earnest citizen go about changing this utterly draconian system?
The only way to avoid paying monies is to put your device away while driving.
I got a portable device ticket today tge cop said why my phone was in my hand i told her im not on the phone i am connecting my music to play through the fm radio. She still ticket me can i beat this ticket?
You cannot “use” an electronic device while driving. What you write sounds like “use” to me.
Of ocurse, sitting in traffic court would also reveal that a great many convictions are contrary to law.
The Vehicle and Traffic Law and MUTCD prohibit enforcement of pavement markings absent posted signs, yet police issues summonses and judges and hearing officers convict.
Regulations specify minimum yellow times based on vehicle 85 percentile approach speeds and road pitch, but again, judges and hearing officers convict contrary to law.
Judges have some immunity (but may be involved in a criminal conspiracy to provide village income) but hearing officers, following management instructions that are clearly contrary to law have no such immunity. Why are there no prosecutions? Why doesn’t the AAA take up the motorists causes?
As always, thanks for sharing your thoughts. There are no prosecutors at the Traffic Violations Bureau because it is an administrative agency that does not use them. Of course, there are very few cases challenging the validity of the TVB system.