By Ian Perrotta
So it turns out that speeding ticket you got on the I-75 service drive may not have been your fault after all.
Last week, an article in The Detroit News reported that many municipalities in the state have not complied with Public Act 85, a law that requires cities to conduct scientific studies in order to set proper speed limits.
One of the roads that the News says does not comply with the law is the I-75 Service Drive in Hamtramck.
Passed in 2006, the Public Act 85 was a response to the illegal posting of 25 mph speed limits on gravel roads in Oakland County. After residents complained, the bill was enacted and speed limits were restored to their original levels.
To many residents, the fact that some speed limits are too low comes as no surprise. On any given court date the third floor of City Hall literally overflows with drivers waiting to dispute their tickets. Many share similar stories of unwittingly speeding down the service drive, only to be alerted by the sounds of sirens and the flashing of lights.
On a recent day, four separate drivers all realized they had been pulled over at the same spot just past the overpass heading north on the service drive, south of Caniff. One unidentified woman related how she thought she was traveling the speed limit but was pulled over by the officers riding behind her.
“Why would I be speeding if I knew there was a police officer behind me?” she said. “I didn’t even see a posted sign until the officer pointed it out, and it was on the side of the wall. Twenty-five [mph] is way too low.”
When notified of the News article and its findings that Hamtramck may be enforcing illegal speed limits, City Manager Bill Cooper said he had “heard that rumor” but appeared to be unfamiliar with the law. However, he said that the city would be looking into it and if a study proved a new speed was necessary then they would comply with what was found.
“If we find that the speed limit isn’t what it should be, we’ll take the steps to correct it,” he said.
Complying with the law is no small matter in Hamtramck. To close a budget deficit, police officers have committed to producing at least $60,000 in traffic fines per month.
Not only does Hamtramck share the dubious honor of not complying with the law, according to the Detroit News, among a random sampling of 10 roads taken by the National Motorists Association, the service drive along I-75 in Hamtramck was identified as a speed trap.