I understand what you're getting at, actual harm being done versus the need to cite for a committed traffic violation. The problem truly is their boss is getting pressure from their boss, and his boss from that boss and so on and so on. The traffic cops aren't dumb (well the handful I rode with weren't) and they knew the score. But their job is to enforce traffic laws. And the easiest way to "show" that they were doing it with a paper trail is via tickets. So they would do the least amount of bullshit traffic violations they could possibly do without getting hassled by their superior and go on to do in their mind "real work" by everyone else's standards.This. This right here is the problem. Not about safety. Not even about enforcing the law. The boss says "go extort some people who aren't actually harming anyone every shift", and off they go, dutifully performing random injustices upon the people. And then wonder why those people have a low opinion of law enforcement.
And I'm not naive I'm quite sure there's sadists aplenty with badges who love ruining others days and wasting peoples time by handing out tickets which are IMO bullshit (5-10mph over posted limit).
edit - The point being however is that traffic makes up a small percentage of LE as a whole. It truly does. They're merely the most visible.