Just the ticket: Pay now, speed later - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Just the ticket: Pay now, speed later

Updated: Sept. 30, 2010
A private company will let you pay your traffic fines before the cop even pulls you over. (©iStockphoto.com/Lisa F. Young) A private company will let you pay your traffic fines before the cop even pulls you over. (©iStockphoto.com/Lisa F. Young)
 

"The idea came to me while playing Monopoly with my kids when I drew the Get Out of Jail Free card," says Keith Kelly, founder of Prepaid Traffic Tickets, LLC. "As I picked up the card, I flashed back to a recent speeding ticket and resulting traffic school. A lightbulb came on, the dots connected, and here we are."

Where are we? In a place where you can buy vouchers in varying denominations, from $50 to $200 with validity periods extending from 60 days to six months that can be used to offset the expense of traffic tickets. They essentially act as insurance. Retail prices for the vouchers range from under $10 to $80 for the higher-value, longer-validity vouchers. One of the most popular is redeemable for $100, valid for two months and priced at $13.33.

The company is betting you don't get a traffic ticket; you're betting you will. The availability of the vouchers is raising some eyebrows and prompting some to ask if they will spur holders of the vouchers to break traffic laws.  

"Don't get us wrong on this, please," Kelly says. "We see these vouchers as a means of communicating the all-important message of safe driving. People who receive these vouchers, whether they keep them for themselves or pass them along as a gift, should think of the vouchers like a string tied around their finger as a reminder of something. In this case the message is ‘Drive safely, because it matters to everyone.'"

Well, maybe.

Prepaid Traffic Tickets says it expects (and hopes) people will tape the vouchers to their car's dashboard to keep the safe-driving message front and center. It's selling the vouchers to aftermarket automotive and motorcycle parts-and-accessory companies to use as a premium. One might therefore intuit that the holders of the vouchers might feel empowered to bend a traffic law or two, since it will have no monetary consequences.

The company says the time is ripe for such a product because the proliferation of automated traffic cameras, automated radar systems, license-plate-recognition systems and other technology has resulted in more expensive tickets.

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