The $150 million speed trap

Some drivers think a 35 mile per hour speed limit is too slow for a four lane divided highway. Police don’t: they say it’s a good excuse to search cars.

This story comes from Fairmont, West Virginia, whose 19,000 people got a $150 million new speed trap in 2010.

In the middle of the interview a city police officer explains that the reason they go out there is to make pretext stops looking for drugs. There’s some empty talk about how traffic seems faster and drivers could slow down, but the meat of the story is the about how it’s just an excuse to violate drivers’ rights.

It reminds me of a story from a couple years ago about a 65 mph sign mistakenly posted in a 75 zone on I-90 near Rapid City. That was the favorite hunting ground for state police to search cars for drugs.

Drivers obeying the speed limit went to prison. Police and DOT officials did not.

The current state of law encourages police officers not to ask questions about the speed limit.

That’s wrong. There is no such thing as a good faith pretext stop. If in hindsight a ridiculous speed limit is found not to be justified, everybody involved in setting and abusing it should be charged with civil rights violations.

The opinions expressed in this post belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Motorists Association or the NMA Foundation. This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. No representations are made regarding the accuracy of this post or the included links.

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