Law will put brakes on speed traps

By Ian Perrotta

Drivers have another ally in their fight against speeding tickets.

Last week, it was reported that State Representatives Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) and Bettie Cook Scott (D-Detroit) had introduced a pair of bills that would mandate municipalities to comply with Public Act 85 of 2006, a law that requires speed limits to be set using scientific methods. But what wasn’t elaborated on was the fact that the bills would also effectively put an end to speed traps.

As many drivers are all too familiar with, speed traps are areas of the road where the speed limit suddenly drops, or are set artificially low, causing drivers to unwittingly break the law by speeding. In a phone interview with Roy Jones, Rep. Scott’s Executive Assistant, Jones explained that when a road has a speed limit that is lower than the rate at which 75 percent of drivers travel the road, then it is a speed trap.

“What happens is that often times you get a sudden drop from a normal state speed limit to a local speed limit that is less than the 75th percentile,” he said. “That’s what creates a speed trap.”

The two pieces of legislation, House Bills 6164 and 6165, came about after Rep. Scott received several calls from citizens who were upset over the traffic tickets they had been issued. Speaking with other members of the House, she realized that the problem was statewide and decided to team-up with Rep. Jones.

Despite their political differences, the two were natural allies – Rep. Scott was a former Detroit police officer and Rep. Jones was a former Eaton County Sherriff. Both were able to use their police experience to draft new laws that would benefit both officers and civilians alike.

“When inappropriate tickets are written and then dismissed it wastes the police officers’ time, the courts’ time and taxpayer dollars,” said Rep. Jones at a press conference last week that announced the bills.

Rep. Scott also spoke at that press conference, agreeing with Rep. Jones’ assessment.

“It’s a massive waste of taxpayer money when our residents have to go to court to challenge a fine they should not have received in the first place,” she said.

According to a recent Detroit News survey, Hamtramck has a speed trap on part of the I-75 service drive.

3 Responses to Law will put brakes on speed traps

  1. Roger

    May 26, 2010 at 9:24 am

    “when a road has a speed limit that is lower than the rate at which 75 percent of drivers travel the road, then it is a speed trap.”

    That describes almost every road in Michigan. especially the entirety of I75, 8 mile, mound, hall, gratiot, groesbeck and especially I94 through detroit where the limit is 55 and most people do 70. Either they are going to have to change their definition or spend Billions of dollars recalibrating the 122,382.1 miles of roads in Michigan. I’m all for fair limits and proper representation but this is what i call a Bulls**t law that some whiny group got approved because one of them got a ticket. You know what…go ahead, make the I75 service drive areas 40mph like most service drives, and when you have people doing 50mph daily through there they will get tickets still and wont be able to cry their way out of it. they only think about themselves until someone’s kid gets hit by a car going 55 that couldnt stop in time when they walk out from between parked cars to get their ball.

  2. Roger

    June 2, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    I want to clarify that i support looking into changing some of the limits to reflect real life driving needs, but we need to reword the “speed trap” definition. FYI, the service drive between holbrook and caniff really needs to be changed from 25 to at least 35 since its practically part of the freeway, and a 35 limit on some areas like holbrook west of lumpkin and jc north of caniff (better to dodge bullets on thursday night, lol)

  3. Pete

    September 29, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I received a 45 in the 25 speed limit section of the I-75 service drive that enters Hamtramck city limits. This area is characterized by a 3 lane drive that descends down to the expressway level where there were some preparations to create an entrance ramp, so if you don’t brake you will accelerate even when coasting if you aren’t paying attention. There are no entrances or drives thru here and the police wait just beyond where they can laser you just as you hit the bottom.
    When I went to “court” none of the speeding ticket holders actually saw a Judge. We all were allowed to make a deal with Police officers in little rooms where we paid for an “Obstructing Traffic” ticket if we cooperated. We pay a $150 fine, get no points, I even kept my original ticket.
    It is no secret that this helps this poor little town keep its police force. What a shame that they are so desperate they are compelled to resort to this. I am not angry at them because I understand their situation. I certainly expect this sort of fund raising to spread elsewhere.
    To retort to Roger, this drive at even 55 would be calm, safe, and serene compared to the hectic 75 MPH madhouse one descends into on the I75 at rush hour. This speed limit is not about safety.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *