2022 has not yet started. But the authorities have already decided that road fines of at least 65,000 francs a day should be issued every day in Ticino. For a total of collections that will exceed 23 million francs throughout the year.
“It is immoral to put the tickets on the radar fines in the budgets – thunders Andrea Censi, president of the Ticino motorists front -. The objective of speed controls should not be to obtain cash, the achievement of certain economic objectives, but on the contrary to guarantee road safety ”.
The canton wants half a million more
However, as every year, also for 2022 the Canton and the Municipalities have already estimated in the estimation stage how much they plan to charge thanks to the road fines. It is understandable that the canton intends to play the lion’s share. On page 71 of the financial data of the 2022 budget we read that traffic fines should yield 1.25 million francs, fines for mobile radar control 2.25 million francs and fines for fixed and semi-stationary radar control even 12, 25 million francs. In total they earn 15.75 million, half more than what was recorded in the 2021 budget.
The city of Lugano, for its part, has entered the 2022 budget, under the heading “fines”, an amount unchanged compared to 2021: 4.35 million francs. This is – it must be reiterated – a prediction that could also be contradicted by the facts. In 2020, for example, the city collected more than a million fines less than expected, to be exact 3,319,427 francs. Evidently, in the hot months of the pandemic, the police had nothing more to do than drive off offending motorists.
Locarno thinks big too
But next year everything should return to normal, as confirmed by the estimates of the other major centers in the canton. The city of Locarno expects to collect 1,482,000 francs for traffic fines, almost double compared to the infamous 2020, when unruly motorists earned just 746,661 francs. The police are expected to regain full control next year, to an even higher level than in the run-up to the pandemic. Suffice it to say that in 2019 Locarno had collected “only” 1,124,873 francs in fines. Next year could be better or worse, depending on your point of view.
In Bellinzona it is estimated that fines of 1,125 million francs will be imposed, exactly the same amount that had been estimated for 2021. It is not known if the forecast for the current year will be confirmed. It is known, however, that in recent years the income from fines has always been more modest. In 2020, Bellinzona had collected just over 871,000 francs in fines, the previous year 1,037,322 francs and in 2018 “only” 854,174 francs. Hopefully, or badly, next year it may turn out richer.
More moderate Mendrisiotto
In Mendrisio, on the other hand, they try to set more moderate objectives. After the fines in 2020 had contributed 380,160 francs compared to the 650,000 francs recorded in the budget, already the following year the city council had lowered the bar. For 2021, a collection of half a million was expected and is still expected. The same amount that was entered in the item “Income from police fines” also in the 2022 budget.
Even more cautious is the Municipality of Chiasso, which by next year expects to collect 480,000 francs in fines, or less than the 530,000 francs included in the 2021 budget. Here, too, it was 2020 that suggested moderating ambitions. Only 419,000 francs went into the register instead of the estimated 530,000 francs.
We do not proceed to examine the estimates for the smaller municipalities. But it is enough to add the amounts provided by the canton and the five main municipalities to exceed the figure of 23 million francs in fines. In other words, a fine of 65,000 francs a day. Or, if you want to look at it from another angle, 67 francs in fines for every Ticino citizen, including children.
“As for fines and radars, it is not always easy to determine when repression is taking place and when prevention is taking place,” observes Gianmarco Balemi, director of the Ticino section of the ACS. Let me explain: in some stations there is no discussion, they are really positioned intelligently, in others some questions arise. Certainly, a part of the income from the cantonal radars is used for prevention campaigns and road maintenance works and in this context the system is maintained. The situation is different at the municipal level, where we do not know exactly what is the destination of the proceeds of the radar fines.
A low transparency towards which Censi uses even more explicit tones. “Often and with pleasure we attend budget games – says the president of the FAT -. In other words, we do not know where the part of the proceeds of the fines that is not destined for road safety ends up. What expenses does it cover? For which budget line are you making an interim measure? We need more transparency. Road safety must be guaranteed, there is no doubt about that. But punishing motorists for other purposes is wrong. “
“More crackdown on mobile phones”
However, with all the caveats of the case, motorists themselves recognize that police controls are necessary. Sometimes prevention is not enough – continues Balemi -. I am referring in particular to what I call a veritable plague: the use of a mobile phone while driving. Prevention is not enough here. We need more repression. A general speech should be made, also involving the automakers who have the means to inhibit driving messages. The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) should also do more. ‘
Always with a view to increasing road safety, for the benefit of all users. “At the level of fatal accidents, it must be said that in recent years they have been decreasing, despite the fact that traffic has increased – continues Balemi -. Therefore, the prevention and repression work in this case has worked and is working. However, the number of other accidents did not decrease. I am thinking, for example, of those who are involved in electric bicycles: here we are witnessing a real wave. It is a worrying phenomenon that must be addressed with the appropriate measures ”.
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