Pack up the kids. Load the car. Brace yourself (and your stomach) for Thanksgiving and all that comes with it: togetherness, turkey and … tickets?
To help holiday travelers avoid speeding tickets, the National Motorists Association (NMA) has prepared a list of the worst speed trap cities across the country. Speed traps have historically been those stretches of road known for lurking police officers with a reputation for handing out high numbers of speeding tickets.
The NMA, which describes itself as an advocacy group for the "interests and rights of North American motorists," defines a speed trap as "any time the enforcement is focused on revenue instead of enforcing safety," according to association spokesperson Aaron Quinn. Predictably, law enforcement takes exception to that: "The term speed trap simply isn't accurate because what we're doing is preventative as we work in areas with a high frequency of traffic," said Lieutenant Everette Clendenin, a public affairs officer for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. "We're not trapping anyone."
Located in Raleigh – the city taking top nod on the NMA's list for speed traps in North Carolina – the N.C. Highway Patrol warns that speed is the leading cause of traffic collisions and fatalities nationwide. "We always, but specifically around the holidays, advise drivers not to risk speeding because it's simply not worth it," Clendenin said. "Slow down and live."
With AAA estimating that 38.7 million people will hit the road for at least 50 miles from home this Thanksgiving, drivers may find themselves in unknown territory — and unknown traffic rules. "People are traveling this time of year to parts of the country they are not so familiar with so this list highlights areas where these traps exist," Quinn said. "We just want drivers to make it to Thanksgiving dinner without an undeserved ticket."
Following is the list of the cities by state where the NMA says travelers are most likely to encounter law enforcement with radar:
ALABAMA Worst speed trap: Montgomery Dishonorable Mention: Birmingham, Huntsville, Uniontown
ALASKA Worst speed trap: Anchorage Dishonorable Mention: Fairbanks, Juneau, Seward
ARIZONA Worst speed trap: Tucson Dishonorable Mention: Gilbert, Phoenix, Scottsdale
ARKANSAS Worst speed trap: Little Rock Dishonorable Mention: Augusta, Fayetteville, Parkin
CALIFORNIA Worst speed trap: Fresno Dishonorable Mention: Fullerton, Los Angeles, San Jose
COLORADO Worst speed trap: Colorado Springs Dishonorable Mention: Aurora, Denver, Fort Collins
CONNECTICUT Worst speed trap: Enfield Dishonorable Mention: Danbury, Groton, New Canaan
DELAWARE Worst speed trap: Newark Dishonorable Mention: Dover, Felton, Fenwick Island
FLORIDA Worst speed trap: Waldo Dishonorable Mention: Lawtey, Ocala, Orlando
GEORGIA Worst speed trap: Pendergrass Dishonorable Mention: Atlanta, Duluth, Marietta,
HAWAII Worst speed trap: Honolulu Dishonorable Mention: Kailua, Kaimuki, Maui
IDAHO Worst speed trap: Boise Dishonorable Mention: Idaho Falls, Lewiston, Post Falls
ILLINOIS Worst speed trap: Naperville Dishonorable Mention: Carol Stream, New Lenox, Peoria
INDIANA Worst speed trap: Indianapolis Dishonorable Mention: Bloomington, Culver, Fort Wayne
IOWA Worst speed trap: Des Moines Dishonorable Mention: Ames, Cedar Rapids, Davenport
KANSAS Worst speed trap: Shawnee Dishonorable Mention: Leawood, Overland Park, Topeka