A pre-Labor Day article in last year's Chicago Tribune reported a survey that mentioned specifically that the worst speed traps were in Flower Mound, TX, Livonia, MI,and Winthrop, WA. South Carolina had more speed traps than any other state; and Ontario, Nova Scotia, and the District of Columbia were most frequently cited for having them.
Now the term "speed trap" is perjorative, implying that it is excessive, abusive, and primarily for revenue-generating purposes rather than for safety reasons. Who knows what wickedness lies in the hearts of men and women? Put a bunch of them on a City Council and you can come up with some lulus, I think.
Anyway, one argument for setting up speed traps is that it gives the local police something to do in between episodes of more serious police work: in effect, it keeps them from going to doughnut shops too frequently or snoozing in their patrol cars. However, this is hard to fathom, given the numbers of serious crimes and the meth epidemic that is affecting a number of areas.
I propose a National Best Speed Trap Award. Now, in order to make it fair, there should be some objective criteria to use; not just simply that more people have complained about it. Here are a few, with others that could be added as the concept is further refined:
1. It uses a dramatic, unexplainable reduction in highway speed without adequate justification; in other words, not due to a nearby school or town limits.
2. The speed limit sign is small, nonreflective, partially obscured, or otherwise likely to be overlooked. Clearly, the use of radar to regulate speed in places that use due warning such as "Reduced Speed Ahead" or "Speed Zone Ahead" should not be considered speed traps.
3. If there is no radar data, or the radar habitually malfunctions, then this might warrant it being called a speed trap.
4. Finally, if the posted speed limit is ridiculously low, then it should be considered a speed trap.
I envision a televised awards ceremony for the National Best Speed Trap Award to be held in Los Angeles. In this ceremony, the local sheriffs and chiefs of police whose juristrictions are nominated should attend, wearing tuxedoes. Each official should be escorted on the stage by a beautiful Hollywood actress, and there should be music and champagne flowing freely! This would be a night to remember for our stouthearted speed trap specialists! Yes, let the champagne flow freely; they deserve no less!
At the end of the ceremony, each officer would drive away in their own official police vehicle. And three blocks away, the L.A.P.D. would have a sobriety checkpoint.
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