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City of Fargo doubles fines for many traffic violations

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FARGO — Running a stop sign in Fargo, and across North Dakota, used to only carry a fine of $20.

For going 15 mph over the speed limit, the fine was $10.

That's going to change, at least in Fargo, after city commissioners approved doubling the fines for numerous traffic violations on Monday, Nov. 18, on a unanimous vote.

"Traffic is one of the biggest complaints I get," said Police Chief David Todd in presenting the new fine schedule with Assistant City Attorney Nancy Morris at the Fargo City Commission meeting.

The North Dakota State Legislature voted to allow cities to raise fines this past winter.

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Todd added that he thought the increased fines could serve as a "deterrent" to some of the traffic issues.

Commissioner Dave Piepkorn was incredulous when he got the answer to what the fine would be if someone was going 37 mph in a 25 mph neighborhood in Fargo.

"$12," Todd said. It will now be $24.

On top of that, Todd compared North Dakota and Fargo fines to those in Minnesota and South Dakota. For someone going 15 mph over the speed limit in North Dakota, the fine was $10, while in Minnesota he said it would be $140 and in South Dakota $125. Running a stop sign would be $130 in Minnesota and $125 in South Dakota, while it was only $20 in North Dakota.

Todd added that Fargo was one of the last big cities in the state to raise the fines after legislators allowed cities to raise them up to 100%, doubling them. He said Bismarck and Grand Forks both already raised their fines.

However, in rural areas, the old fine schedule still applies.

Some of the other fines that were raised included texting while driving from $100 to $200, improper turns from $20 to $40, failure to yield to a pedestrian from $50 to $100 and following too closely from $20 to $40.

As for speeding, the new schedule calls for a $10 fine from 6 mph over the speed limit plus $2 for each additional mph over, $20 for 11 mph over the speed limit plus $2 for each additional mph over and $30 for 16 mph to 20 mph over plus $4 for each additional mph over. The fines and mph dollar amounts increase more above that rate.

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Some fines weren't changed, including failure to display current vehicle license at $20 and open alcoholic container $50.

An almost 50-year veteran of the newspaper business, Amundson has worked for The Forum and Forum News Service for 15 years. He started as a sport reporter in Minnesota. He is currently the city and night reporter for The Forum. bamundson@forumcomm.com 701-451-5665
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