NMA E-Newsletter #207: Where the Motorist Meets Up with the Internet Highway

The NMA designed its network of websites to be educational destinations. We are constantly revising and adding to the content to keep our readers current with developments on key issues that affect motorists’ rights. Knowledge is the most important tool in our advocacy kit.

We operate four free-access websites, each with a distinct purpose:

NMA Home (www.motorists.org): Packed with information to make everyone an expert on the issues that matter most to drivers, from setting proper speed limits to the proper way to adjust your side-view mirrors and everything in-between. Studies, reports, news articles, editorials — all of that and more is available at this site.

The National SpeedTrap Exchange (www.speedtrap.org): Speed trap information direct from the best source: highway travelers. Each location is documented, verified by fellow motorists, and commented upon by those unfortunate enough to have encountered the predatory, revenue-generating law enforcement action. The site contains over 80,000 reported speed traps, each easily found by clicking on state and then city.

The Roadblock Registry (www.roadblock.org): This is the counterpart to The National SpeedTrap Exchange. The site allows motorists to report the specifics of roadblocks and checkpoints. While we are pleased the Registry continues to gain in popularity as measured by online visitations, the downside is that the activity is probably related to the increased popularity of the mass stopping of drivers to search for — some might say to manufacture — violations.

Short Yellow Lights (www.shortyellowlights.com): We continue to make gains in intersection safety by educating the public about the virtues of having properly timed yellow light change intervals. Conversely, short yellow lights breed higher violation (read: ticket) rates and are used by the photo enforcement industry to justify the use of red-light cameras. The key to eliminating the ticket cameras is simple: require communities to use proven engineering practices to set yellow light timing and pressure law enforcement to set fair standards for right-turn-on-red violations.

Over the past three years, the most popular NMA web destinations have been The National Speed Trap Exchange and the NMA Blog, the latter being prominently displayed on our home page. The Blog has a unique posting each weekday — opinion pieces from a variety of sources, developing news stories, and car reviews are among the fresh content — and it has steadily grown in popularity since its introduction in 2009.

Traffic to the Speed Trap Exchange has averaged over 150,000 visitors per month over that same three-year period. While there are many notable mobile apps — Escort’s SmartCord, Trapster, Waze, and PhantomAlert among them — that forewarn drivers of impending speed trap zones, the NMA’s Speed Trap Exchange is a unique forum where motorists can share thoughts and information, context if you will, about specific speed traps. The site allows “yes, this is a speed trap” and “no, this is definitely not a speed trap” voting to affirm the legitimacy of each particular speed trap report.

Very soon we will be adding a new feature to the rotation of material for the NMA Blog, one that combines the popularity of our two top destinations. Once every two or three weeks, we will highlight a state or province, identify the cities within that jurisdiction with the most speed trap reports in recent months, and shine a spotlight on a few of the most egregious speed trap locations. Please share this information with those you know who live or visit that state. Our hope is that they too will add their voice to the exchange of speed trap information at www.speedtrap.org, thereby improving the freedom of travel on our highways.

Postscript: As an example of content at the Speed Trap Exchange, take a look at Lott, Texas, a community of less than 1000 people about 30 miles south of Waco. Over the past three years, several drivers have posted warnings about one long speed trap that is Highway 77 as it passes through town. Those reports have generated 336 “yes this is a speed trap” votes to only 42 “no” votes, an eight to one ratio. Here are a few comments about Lott speed traps from our site that add valuable information for the discerning driver:

The worst instance is when heading north on Hwy 77 where the road is wide and straight. The speed limit drops suddenly from 70 to 55 on a very long straight stretch of the road before you really get into the community and the road does not pass through any residential sections.”The limit drops all the way to 45. Because of the long stretch of road it is possible for the police to catch you on radar way before you can actually identify the police car. Totally unrealistic speed limits for road and traffic situations.

The revenue generation experts hide their cars in the bushes and trees on the North side of town on 77 and behind the gentle hills on the east side of town on 320. Watch the ditches on the west end of town on 320. The south end of 77 has many rundown buildings to conceal a radar trap and a long highway to allow a clear shot.

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