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.