Monday, July 13, 2009

I don't know why the maximum fine for speeding on 295 is $263.

I spent a lot of Thursday, Friday and Saturday driving back and forth on Interstate 295 between Gardiner and Portland, which is currently under construction. A sign on the side of the northbound route warns against speeding, and threatens fines of "up to $263."

Why $263? My best guess is that it was once a $250 fine, and has risen over time because of some annual escalator, saving the state legislature the trouble of revisiting the fine at every session. But does anyone know? I also assume that fines start lower for lower speed violations, but I don't know where the breaks come.

Finally, $263 is a decent-sized fine, but it wouldn't be a crippling one for some people, and I wonder whether it creates a perverse incentive among some summer people. I can imagine a certain brand of tourist thinking, "$263, is that all? I'll pay that fee to do 90." Is $263 a large enough fine to keep you from speeding, or do you think it's an opportunity cost worth risking? (I do not currently have a spare $263, so it serves its deterrent purpose for me.)

The sun came out just long enough to entertain my out-of-town visitors, and taking those couple of days off felt as good as a real vacation. Now the clouds are back, and my neglected work is terrifying me. Back to the desk...

1 comment:

Sue Lin said...

Wondering if the $263 figure is deliberately "odd" to make you think extra hard about the amount (see? you wrote a whole Blog entry on it....) It makes it more memorable. Sort of like why train departures are 2:34 p.m. (not 2:35 p.m.) to jolt passengers into being on time.