Drivers Try to Put Brakes on Cities’ ‘Dirty, Little Secret’: Speed Traps

By ABC News

Jul 16, 2014 6:07pm

Across the U.S., tourists and drivers are fighting back against speed traps, something that one retired police officer called “a dirty, little secret” among cities and counties.

“I said to myself that when I got a chance to speak out about it, I would,” said Kurt Skarjune, a retired Detroit-area officer. “It’s like a dirty, little secret but it’s really not a secret, but it certainly is dirty.”

Skarjune said that local governments made big money from speed traps, which he described as shooting fish in a barrel. The average ticket: about $150.

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Drivers have reported more than 82,000 speed traps since 2000 to the National Speed Trap Exchange, warning other families on the roads.

Houston, Texas, ranks No. 1 in reported speed traps, with nearly 500 since 2000 but the police lights are flashing all over the country.

On a five-mile stretch of US 69 in Oklahoma, police in the community of Stringtown, population about 400, wrote so many speeding tickets that a few months ago, the state prohibited the department from writing any more.

In Linndale, Ohio, the tiny town of less than 200 collected $800,000 in speeding tickets before a court stepped in.

Along Interstate 10, in the middle of Cajun country, 80 percent of the budget for Henderson, Louisiana, was covered by speeding tickets handed out at the bottom of the bridge.

A class-action suit, brought by drivers, was filed last year, alleging that the police had been paid extra for writing tickets.

“The law of this state clearly states that one may not be paid based on the number of tickets that are issued,” said St. Martin Parish Assistant District Attorney Chester Cedars.

ABC News’ Steve Osunsami contributed to this story.

 

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