As I was trying to explain to an uncaring Connecticut police chief that his speed limit cut to deter commuter traffic wasn’t legal, a city in Georgia was fixing a speed trap.
Why the difference?
Georgia police need a state permit to use radar, and the DOT will revoke a city’s radar permit if it spots a speed trap.
In Connecticut the DOT doesn’t remove abusively low speed limits. It can — that’s part of its job — but it doesn’t.
Similarly, the Massachusetts law requiring revocation of highway funds to towns that post illegal speed limits has never been enforced as long as I remember.
Anti-speed trap laws in the middle of the country also have limited effect because enforcement is in practice discretionary. Some laws rely on self-reporting by cities. Missouri’s Macks Creek Law only started to grow teeth within the past year because of the Ferguson riots.
Another state also stands out from the pack.
While Georgia’s law depends on the state DOT having driver-friendly officials revoke radar permits, in California any traffic court judge can determine a road to be a “speed trap” and ineligible for radar based enforcement. Judges in most of the country can assume the limit is good. California requires police to prove the speed limit is justified.
And that’s why when I visited San Diego I drove the 45 to 50 mph speed limit on major streets that would be 25 or 35 mph speed traps in the Northeast. I don’t have any reason to believe San Diego councilors want to post safe speed limits.
They just can’t get away with breaking the law.
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