Jul 16, 2010

The dwindling speed cushion

We have all seen cartoon showing a motorcycle cop hiding behind a billboard just waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting speeder.

We have also heard about the “speed traps” set up by small town cops and rural sheriff deputies.

That may be commonplace as cities and states scramble to cope with budget deficits in a recession.

From a USA Today report last spring:

The recession may be claiming a new victim: the 5-10-mph "cushion" police and state troopers across the USA have routinely given motorists exceeding the speed limit.

As cities and states scramble to fill budget gaps with revenue from traffic citations, "not only are the (speeding) tolerances much lower, but the frequency of a warning instead of a ticket is way down," says James Baxter, president of the National Motorists Association, a Wisconsin-based drivers' rights group that helps its members fight speeding tickets.

Most people, if they're stopped now, are getting a ticket even if it's only a minor violation of a few miles per hour," Baxter says. He cites anecdotal evidence of drivers being pulled over at slower speeds.

More here.