Depending on what State you live in, the speed traps will vary in number and their according legislation. While some regions of the country have dedicated their efforts to installing and maintaining speed traps for nearly the entire enforcement of speeding laws, others have remained more dependent on the traditional highway patrols. If you want to know what you are dealing with, it is best to do a little research because you probably already know that law enforcement agencies can be a little sparse with their information on a subject they’d like to catch you out on!
The major differences from State to State concerning speed traps are the use of such devices in recording speeding infractions or the primary use of highway patrolmen; another main difference is the speeds that are considered lawful on highways and in cities. The State itself will decide what the basic framework for speed trap use is, and lay down certain expectations for its local authorities who will then interpret the use of speed traps for their own populations. In Alabama, for example, changes in the speed limit must go through the proper channels so that drivers are not penalized for infractions that are only a matter of miscommunication. Only six changes to the limit may be made in a certain time frame and because of this it is hoped that drivers will not be confused and unfairly punished.
While anti-speed trap laws are prevalent in most States to prevent unfair usage, New Jersey boasts none of these except that the authorities may not set up a trap within one mile of a speed change zone. This means that otherwise, the traps may be set up as often as those in charge see fit, and that unlike Alabama and other similar States there are no restrictions on speed limit changes in a certain time frame.
Of course, some people view the Alabama anti-speed trap laws as slightly extreme and unnecessary; conversely there are those detractors from the straightforward methods of New Jersey because they feel drivers are at risk of being ‘caught’. The irony of the speed trap, in any State, is that it is meant to be secret and catch speeders so that they might be punished and not speed anymore; the more traps that are set, however, the more known they become and therefore drivers become more aware of their speed and are more likely to keep it in check.
In Massachusetts, the controversy lies on ticket quotas, where officers are expected to dole out a certain number of speeding tickets per a certain timeframe. The speed traps of course help with meeting this quota however there are a great number of people who feel that the existence of a ticket quota is not helping to slow people down but to actually keep speeding levels as they are. If people are aware of speed traps, they are more likely to slow down and that is the underlying purpose of the devices; wherever you’re driving, be aware!