The Detroit News recently studied ten randomly selected intersections and found that the speed limit was set incorrectly on all ten. In response, State Representative Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, will be proposing a bill to require cities to follow the state laws on setting speed limits outlined in Public Act 85. Many cities have chosen to ignore the existing state law, but Jones’ bill would make it more difficult for communities to get away with that.
As quoted by The Detroit News, Jones said:
“My reason for the legislation is simple — to end this practice of speed traps. There are speed traps all over the state, and under my bill, the communities that are putting these speed limit signs up would have to comply with the state law and do it right”
Public Act 85 was passed in 2006. The NMA describes the law this way:
Michigan’s Public Act 85 of 2006 is the nation’s best speed-limit law, requiring most limits to be scientifically set. This law (MCL 257.627 & 628) took effect on November 9, 2006, invalidating thousands of obsolete and meaningless speed limits, mostly in cities.
The Detroit News explains it in more detail:
The act requires communities to set their limits by the frequency of driveways and cross streets, or by conducting an engineering and traffic study, and then posting a speed limit based on the 85th percentile of free-flowing traffic — meaning the speed at which 85 percent of drivers are traveling during the traffic study.
Except for the cities that are cashing in on illegally low speed limits, the state law has the support of nearly everyone, including the police:
[State Rep.] Jones, a former Eaton County sheriff who spent 31 years in law enforcement, said most officers don’t like writing tickets for speed trap violations.“I’ve worked traffic, and as a former officer I think these speed traps are outrageous,” he said. “Any police officer can find plenty of cars to stop without resorting to that.
“Any officer with integrity wants nothing to do with a speed trap. They should be totally illegal, and there’s no excuse for them. They’re a money grab, plain and simple.”
State Rep. Bettie Cook Scott, D-Detroit, also an ex-police officer, said she plans to co-sponsor the bill.
“As a Detroit cop, enforcing the law was my job,” Scott said. “But if the law is not properly set, I think the citizens should have some redress. These tickets are costing people a lot of money, and if you’re going to punish someone for breaking the law, then the law should be based on a solid foundation.”
The State Police also strongly support Public Act 85 and agree that money is a big reason why communities are refusing to comply with it:
“I think money is part of it, and I find it reprehensible that communities aren’t following the law,” said State Police Lt. Gary Megge. “In many cases, the problem is the speed limit, not the motorist. Communities have to obey the law, too.”
Several tickets have already been dismissed due to communities ignoring this law and we continue to encourage Michigan motorists to fight their tickets in court.