Sept. 3, 2010— -- As Americans head to the roads this Labor Day weekend, many are going to get speeding tickets. While we're not suggesting that anybody should drive faster than the speed limit, we are realistic and know that you are likely to hit that gas pedal in an effort to beat the crowds to the beach, amusement park, barbecue or family picnic.
So in honor of this holiday weekend, we provide a list of each state's worst speed traps, and tips for avoiding those holiday-dampening tickets.
"There are certainly people who get tickets on the interstate system, but by and large where we think most of the revenue-oriented traffic enforcement is going on is more likely on the secondary suburban and rural roads," said Jim Baxter, president of the National Motorists Association, a group that believes that drivers are "ignored and exploited by federal, state and local governments."
"You find that many times in areas where you're least expecting it, where there doesn't seem a need for particularly low speed limits or there's little roadside development and also good hiding places," Baxter added.
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This Labor Day weekend is likely to see more tickets issued than in the the past. According to the AAA, the number of people venturing forth this holiday weekend will jump 9.9 percent over last year, with 34.4 million travelers heading at least 50 miles from home. Most -- 91 percent -- will be traveling by car. (In case you were wondering, gas is now averaging $ 2.68 a gallon, according to the government, up 7 cents from this time last year.)
Speed Traps Can Hide
So it becomes evermore important to beware of those speed traps out there that can add considerably to your holiday budget.
First, some basic advice: "We often mention to our members -- who are not shy about using various technical devices such as radar detectors -- that your best tool is still your eyes," said Baxter. "Learning to look further down the road is going to give you a clue not just about speed enforcement but about any accidents."
Baxter's group has set up a website, speedtrap.org, where motorists self-report various speed traps they find.
"Going in and out of small communities, pay particular attention to what the speed limits are because it might not have any rhyme or reason for why they are posted where they are or the numerical limit," Baxter said. "That's a classic place where a lot of people get a lot of traffic tickets."
For this Labor Day, Baxter's group took all of the reported speed traps and tallied them up to present the places with the most speed traps, or at least the most speed traps reported by the group's members. The number of traps is not adjusted for the size of the community or the number of travelers coming through.
"All of it is independently and voluntarily reported by motorists," Baxter warns. In other words, take it with a grain of salt.
America's Worst Speed Traps
Speedtrap.org provided two cities for each state, the community with the most traps and the town with the most traps with a population of 100,000 or less. When just one town's name is listed, it means that the community with fewer than 100,000 people was also the top speed trap town.
Alabama: Montgomery, Hoover
Alaska: Anchorage, Juneau
Arizona: Tucson, Flagstaff
Arkansas: Little Rock, Fayetteville
California: Los Angeles, Mission Viejo
Colorado: Colorado Springs, Littleton
Florida: Jacksonville, Boca Raton
Georgia: Atlanta, Marietta
Hawaii: Honolulu, Aiea
Idaho: Boise, Idaho Falls
Illinois: Chicago, Elk Grove Village
Indiana: Indianapolis, Bloomington
Iowa: Des Moines, Iowa City
Kansas: Overland Park, Lawrence
Kentucky: Louisville, Bowling Green
Louisiana: Baton Rouge, Metairie
Maine: Portland, Biddeford
Maryland: Baltimore, Gaithersburg
Massachusetts: Boston, Lynn
Cities and Towns With Many Speed Traps
Minnesota: St. Paul, Edina
Mississippi: Jackson, Meridian
Missouri: Kansas City, O'Fallon
Nebraska: Omaha, Bellevue
Nevada: Las Vegas, Carson City
New Hampshire: Manchester, Nashua
New Jersey: Mahwah
New Mexico: Albuquerque, Las Cruces
New York: New York City, Troy
North Carolina: Raleigh, Asheville
North Dakota: Fargo, Grand Forks
Ohio: Cleveland, Millersburg
Oklahoma: Tulsa, Moore
Oregon: Portland, Beaverton
Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh, Reading
Rhode Island: Pawtucket
South Carolina: Greenville
South Dakota: Sioux Falls, Rapid City
Tennessee: Nashville, Smyrna
Texas: Houston, Tyler
Utah: Salt Lake City, Sandy
Virginia: Virginia Beach, Fairfax
Washington: Seattle, Bellingham
West Virginia: Summersville
Wisconsin: Milwaukee, Kenosha