AUGUSTA (AP) – The cost of speeding is about to go up in Maine.

Beginning May 1, penalties for speeding will rise to $109 to $247, up from the current range of $98 to $165. Fines will also increase for not having proof of insurance, running a red light or not having an inspection sticker.

Sandra Carroll, manager of the Maine Judicial Branch Violations Bureau, said Vendean Vafiades, chief judge of the Maine District Court, increased the fines as part of an overhaul of all traffic infraction fines. They represent the largest fine increases in more than a decade.

“The main question being asked is, does the penalty match the severity (of the infraction)?” Carroll said. “If you’re going faster, the end result is more serious.”

Currently, speeding is divided into three categories: driving 1-15 mph, 16-25 mph and 26-29 mph over the speed limit. Those infractions carry penalties of $98, $124 and $165.

Under the new system, there will five categories of speeding: 1-9 mph, 10-14 mph, 15-19 mph, 20-24 mph and 25-29 mph over the limit. The respective penalties will be $109, $126, $172, $201 and $247.

Area police chiefs are worried drivers will view the increases as too severe.

Waterville Police Chief John Morris said his officers have told him they are concerned motorists might hold them accountable for the new fines. He said some officers might even be reluctant to issue tickets.

“The reluctance will stem from the fact that they don’t want to take a good, hardworking, person who has made a mistake speeding and cost them a couple days up to a week’s worth of pay,” he said. “The revenue that the state is hoping for may not be realized.”

Some motorists said the increases sounded excessive. But the stiffer fines will probably prompt them to pay more attention to their speed.

“You figure my money is better used for something else, rather than paying fines,” said Ron Girardin, 41, of Livermore Falls.

Other traffic fines will be going up as well. The fine will increase from $124 to $159 for failing to produce evidence of a state inspection, and from $88 to $122 for not displaying an inspection certificate.The fine for running a red light or stop sign will go up from $93 to $120.



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