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Thank you, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Thank you, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And, you’re welcome.

Sunday, a state trooper stopped me for a chat along Interstate 81. Mr. Trooper congratulated me on sparing the driver just ahead of me from getting a ticket.

After checking my license and registration in his car, he returned to say that apparently I am a good driver (thank you, for once, Big Brother), so he was going to give me a break: instead of writing a ticket for speeding, he was charging me with “failed to obey the instructions of an applicable official traffic-control device.” This would mean a fine of half the fine for speeding, and a points-free license and preservation of my safe-driver insurance discount.

An hour later I looked at the citation. I owe Magisterial District No. 21-3-04 either a return visit to plead not guilty, or a check for $110.50. Here’s the breakdown:

$25 fine

$10 Emergency Medical Services Act

$30 Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund

$35.50 Costs

$10 Judicial Computer Project/Access to Justice

It’s been many years since my last roadside chat with a trooper. That one was a lot simpler and cheaper.

So, my haste to get back to Baltimore apparently will benefit Pennsylvania’s health care and judicial systems. Considering how many other drivers were pulled over, the commonwealth should easily balance its budget.


  1. Don’t speed (the actual term for your euphemism “haste to get back to Baltimore”) and you and your fellow scofflaws will be be able to bring the Pennsylvania health care and judicial systems to a screeching halt. Why are speeders such self-important whiners?

  2. Wayne Countryman

    The speeder’s reply: Yes, I was speeding. That merits shame, not pride. I cooperated with the trooper, and have admitted my guilt in writing and paid my fine.

    The point I apparently failed to make clear while mocking myself was that fees were assessed that far surpassed the fine. I had no idea that states were assessing such fees.

    A matter of accuracy: If I were a scofflaw, I would have been fined more heavily, according to the trooper.

  3. This is just another pathetic excuse to generate revenue. Unfortunately, it only demonstrates the oppression forced upon society. Adding to Wayne’s story; my son was moving from Pennsylvania to Maryland a few days ago. Bags and boxes packed in the back seat he was driving down Pottsville Pike and was stopped by an officer; let’s call him deputy dog because as usual the signature is illegible; badge #25; magisterial district number 15-3-01. The citation issued was for an expired inspection, I guess this is a cardinal sin in Pennsylvania; in Maryland we are issued a warning to comply within thirty days. He too received the exact same fine as Wayne has listed.
    By the way, if you plead not guilty you still have to submit a “collateral payment” equal to the total amount due on the citation plus seven dollars before you go to trial (guilty before proven innocent).
    $25 fine- okay if there is a fine this is most certainly a justified amount.
    $10 Emergency Medical Services Act- here we go; the EMS systems get paid by the government, the insurance companies are billed for the medical calls and an additional ten dollars is now included on everyone’s citations…for the cause.
    $30 Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund- This is supposedly supplementing the cost of medical malpractice…really!…what is the correlation between this and traffic violations!
    $35.50 Costs- WOW I am speechless, I cannot even fathom what this is paying for, and furthermore, it is more than the fine!
    $10 Judicial Computer Project/Access to Justice- This is the cost for someone to push a few buttons on the keyboard to access the computers data base; let’s see, that means we are paying $10.00 for less than five minutes of work, god I love America.
    No Mr. Pushkin, it is not about whiners it is about the decay of our governmental systems. There is absolutely no justification for imposing these fines except in the eyes of the politicians that wrote them; this is what makes society and teenagers have the distasteful view toward authority that they have. Here we have a young boy with no motor vehicle record at all, fully insured, registered and has a valid driver’s license. The only reason why he did not re-inspect the vehicle was because he has to go through the whole process again here in Maryland and could not afford to do both (who would want to), which he explained to deputy dog when he was stopped. Perhaps it is instances like these which cause people to have a momentary lapse of reason and flee from the law or should I say Gestapo.

  4. Apparently, its not just speeding anymore, PA is making quite a haul on the backs of travelers through their state. We got a ticket for failure to obey a sign. There was a road closed sign posted with no detour signs and being out of town we did not have any idea where to go. We went past the sign thinking there might be a side road thru the development to get around the road work. It was about 7pm so no one was around there working. A cop was hiding on the side road and followed us around the block then pulled us over. You think that since he noticed we were from NJ he would offer us help because we were lost. NO! Gave a that same $25.00 fine with all the extras attached. It’s unbelievable!! He pulled over three other out-of-state cars doing the same thing while we were on the side of the road.

  5. My daughter just got a speeding ticket, was she speeding yes…So Pushkin you can shut you PIG (opps police) mouth. WTH is all this padding. The fine for speeding is $70.50 then padded on this ticket is the JCP/ATJ, MCARE, EMS, Fees. Is PA such a scum state that they need to satisfy their govenrment financial mis-management on the backs of the unfotunate travelers? Obviously so. I HATE PA, it’s a depressed dump that refuses to police their PUPPY MILLS who sell seriously ill dogs, but attack speeders. SAD REAL SAD and PATHETIC. Thanks Brian for the intelligent explainations. I called the state trooper barracks that issued this ticket and the answer I received was “I don’t know” AGAIN SAD AND PATHETIC…

  6. I used to get traffic (mostly parking) tickets in NJ where I lived before moving to PA. It was a simple system; violate a law and you pay the fine and the fine ONLY and that fine was listed on the back of the ticket for clarification.

    Then it turns out I got my first PA ticket today for an expired state inspection and the fine is $25 but the total comes out to $111… Are you kidding me? These troopers are a bunch of SOB’s; I should have gotten a warning and not a citation. All I can say is that I will never again donate a dime to a law enforcement charity ever again. I hope those scumbags lose all their jobs since all they seem to do is screw hard-working people instead of catching real criminals.

  7. The PA fine system is relatively fair compared with other states However, it is all the fees attached to the fine that gets you. There is some truth to some of your statements and some false data as well. Brian Mitch states about the EMS fee of $10.00 and where it goes. Here is the “factual” answer: EMS does not get the “government money” like Brian states. They do get money for billing the auto insurance company “ONLY” if they transport a patient and $0.00, thats right zero if no patient is transported. The auto insurance generally pays $250.00. Now let’s look at the average expense for the ambulance: Ambulance vehicle average cost is approximately $150,000.00, Two employees at $12.50 an hour (cheap labor for saving lives), workers compensation and insurances on those employee’s, fuel costs, vehicle maintainence, wear and tear, medical equipment and pharmacueticals. On a traffic accident they use the “jaws of life” to get you out of the vehicle ($40,000.00 item). Then EMS uses medical supplies to stop bleeding ($50.00 average), then they give you Morphine or Fentenyl for pain ($80.00 average), then give you an I.V. to replace blood you lost ($30.00 average), then put you on a heart monitor ($35,000.00 average) then get you to the hospital. Afterwards EMS will spend another one hour cleaning the ambulance, restocking and doing paperwork. That is just for one patient. Now let’s add the cost of housing the ambulance, heat, electric, etc. and the cost of keeping up to date with the department of health inspections/requirements/trainings and schooling for EMS. Further more, yearly testing of the heart monitor, jaws of life, etc. Being that I am in this field, I can tell you with certainty we spend approximately $650.00 for just this one incident which is $400.00 short of what we received from the auto insurance! So EMS has to pass on the cost to other medical calls to offset the difference.

    Now getting back to that $10.00 EMS fee: It is distributed throughout the EMS departments in the state. We (my department) generally is awarded about $6,000.00 in medical supplies/equipment. The state, along with medical vendors decide what we can choose. It may be for new backboards, splints, pulse oximetry meters/ radios/ etc. Do the math and complain all you want, but do not for one second think EMS is living on the high horse from the $10.00 EMS fee.

    However, EMS does take a financial beating from wrecks and the EMS fee is just a little “Stipend”, if you can even justify calling it that for the people who speed, run stop lights, multi task while driving, etc.

    As far as the Medical Care (MCARE)fee, again Brian is FAR from knowing where it goes and the correlation with traffic violations.

  8. Not a cop – I hear you loud and clear about the expenses EMS has to endure and you can blame the government for that however getting paid for doing absolutely nothing is complete robbery!

    A citation for an out of date inspection should be a warning with 30 days to comply. Since it is not, then a reasonable fine of $25 and a $7 – $10 administration fee should be it! Getting charged $10 for EMS and $30 for MCARE is completely ridiculous when there isn’t even a hint of medical services being performed! Additionally $37 for “costs” is a seriously inflated fee!

    If it had been me that got the ticket rather than my wife I would have fought it, those who wrote the code should be placed in prison themselves!!!!!!!

  9. Over the holiday weekend I got stopped by a PA trooper. My red car and out of state license plates must have been attractive, for I was following other Pennsylvania cars that were going faster than me, that was spared.

    I deserve the $112 ticket for going 20 over. That was quite stupid on my part. I admit guilt. However, I do not think the trooper should have targeted me. The lead car had to be doing 25 over the limit.

    Pardon me while I write the check and stuff it in the mail. I hope my home state does not assign points or suspend my license.