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1944 speeding ticket [updated]

1944 speeding ticket [updated]

April 1, 1944: “I was only doing 25 or 30 at most,” said Sanford White, 51, automotive dealer, as Officer H. L. Brown writes up speeding ticket. Brown had clocked White at 38 miles per hour.

The next morning’s Los Angeles Times reported on a speeding ticket campaign:

Heavy-footed motorists got quite a jolt yesterday.

Besides being April Fools’ Day, yesterday marked the beginning of Deputy Chief Bernard Caldwell’s campaign to cut down speeding in Los Angeles. Reports up to 10 p.m. indicated the “take” was good. A total of 232 speed citations were written during the first 15 hours.

Throughout the city, an augmented motorcycle squad patrolled the streets and “staked out” at vantage points watching for motorists in too much of a hurry.

To record the beginning of the campaign a Times photographer accompanied Motorcycle Officer H.L. Brown on his “tour of duty.” …

Motorcyclist Albert Keirns, 22, … escaped a ticket when he explained he was reporting for Army duty within the next few days.

Brown confided that nine out of every 10 motorists, when stopped, promptly exclaim: “Honest, Officer, I didn’t know I was speeding.” He pointed out that a total of 126 persons already have been killed in traffic mishaps so far this year, most of them due to speeding.

This photo by former staff photographer George Lacks accompanied the above article in the April 2, 1944, Los Angeles Times. The background behind the officer’s head was painted white by a staff artist to improve reproduction.

A followup article in the Apr. 13, 1944 Los Angeles Times reported on the speeding ticket campaign:

Muriel Morris, the blond model who decided at the last minute not to marry Comedian Red Skelton, changed her mind again yesterday–but not about Skelton.

Tagged by a speed cop, she appeared in Munclpal Judge Louis Kaufman’s traffic court yesterday and pleaded not guilty to doing 39 m.p.h. in a 25-mile zone.

Then she got to thinking things over, returned to the bench, pleaded guilty and paid a $10 fine.

Miss Morris was but one of some 400 speeders who appeared in Judge Kaufman’s court yesterday….

Total number of citations turned in by the police motorcycle squad since the start of the drive April 1 stood at 3471 yesterday.

The June 14, 1944 Los Angeles Times reported that comedian Jerry Colonna was fined $12 for “going 40 m.p.h. in a 25-mile zone and for dangerous movement.”

Apr. 12, 1944: Model Muriel Morris hold traffic ticket in court. She pleaded guilty and paid $10 fine. This photo was published in the Apr. 13, 1944 Los Angeles Times. Credit: ProQuest.

[Updated Sep. 5, 2013 with information on cost of traffic fines in 1944.]


  1. September 5, 2013, 7:35 am

    How much the ticket ?

    By: annek
  2. September 5, 2013, 9:04 pm

    Great question! I found two examples of fines and updated the post.



    By: Scott Harrison

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