In the sea of empty-headed speed reporting I came across something informative recently, an analysis of speeding tickets in Wichita including a map of top ticketing locations.
In space, most tickets are on a highway with a low speed limit or near an airport. In time, most tickets are written in the middle of the week in mid-morning or early afternoon. Ticketing is down over 20% the past five years, so fees have been raised to meet revenue goals.
US 54 and 400 west of Wichita is freeway with a 70 mph speed limit. Ten miles out of town it turns to expressway with a 70 mph speed limit. The speed limit drops to 60 as roadside development increases, and remains at 60 after the road returns to freeway inside the city.
Tickets are written in the 60 zone, near where the highway upgrades and the speed limit does not. This is not just a top ticketing location, it is where the highest speeds relative to the speed limit are found on tickets. Drivers think they can go fast. Police don’t.
Despite the occasional rocket man, most tickets are written for speeds about 10 over. That doesn’t say how fast drivers are going. It’s obvious that police write 9 or 10 over when speeds are faster. According to a letter to the editor, writing for 9 over prevents an insurance surcharge.
Many police officers do this around the country. They have to write tickets to keep their jobs, but they don’t have to bring the full weight of the law down on people they think don’t deserve it.
The few tickets written for less than 9 over are likely pretext stops or bad attitude tickets. That’s when you have a bad attitude, not when the officer is having a bad day. If you turn a routine traffic stop into an annoying encounter, he can write you up for the exact crime you committed when everybody else gets a warning or reduction.
This is worth quoting: “The percentage of speeding tickets given to cars by their make, model and color was about the same percentage given for parking tickets.”
For whatever that’s worth. My experience says hot farm country is dominated by white SUVs and pickup trucks, not the diversity of styles and colors you find in coastal cities. I’m not sure how many red sports cars they have to target. But we do have some evidence now that they aren’t being targeted.
According to the map, most of the city is free of speeding tickets. Either the limits are set reasonably or you can get away with anything. Ticketing is concentrated around airports, the 60 mph freeway, the university, and a factory. Which could be because out-of-towners drive there. Or because the speed limit is too low there.
I hope the state DOT and Wichita Public Works Department look at the map and see places where the speed limit is probably too low.
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. The author drove near Wichita once without getting a ticket.