NMA Speed Trap Spotlight: Tennessee

Tennessee speedtrap spotlight

Many American cultural touchstones have deep roots in Tennessee: Elvis, Jack Daniels, barbecue, Dollywood. If you want a truly American experience, take a trip through Tennessee. Just watch out for another uniquely American cultural artifact: the small town speed trap.

This information comes from the NMA’s National Speed Trap Exchange (http://www.speedtrap.org/), a unique website that gives drivers an opportunity to report on and exchange comments about predatory speed traps they have encountered on their travels.

Five Highest Activity Speed Trap Locations

1.     McKenzie:            North Highland and Paris drive on 79

2420 Reports         99% Acknowledgement Rate*

“They must have a new way to collect a tax on us. A mobile speed unit is used there. Well, I used to go through there each weekend going to the lake and bought quite a bit of gas there (100 gal at a time) and shopped at Rural King. NO MORE. Well it is just as easy to go another way, to the lake, which I will from now on.”

2.     Union City:          Roving

762 Reports           99% Acknowledgement Rate

“Three White SUVs with camera operated radars. Speeders are photographed, and citations sent. These SUVs are located anywhere they wish to put them.”

3.     Dyer:                    Highway 45 Bypass just north of Thompson Lane.

343 Reports           100% Acknowledgement Rate

“Dyer police sit in the median just north of Thompson Lane on the Highway 45 bypass in a spot difficult to see until you are upon them and prey upon unsuspecting north and south bound travelers. Seems like there is enough crime in Dyer that the police would have their hands full without harvesting money from travelers in a location on the bypass nowhere near the city.”

4.     Milan:                   Leaving town on Hwy 45 N towards Martin

331 Reports           99% Acknowledgement Rate

“Posted speed limit is different on one side of the road than the other. Leaving town it goes up to 45 mph from 30 mph while the drop to 30 mph on the south bound side is a mile north of this sign. They set up in between catching people who pass thru north on their return south that think the 30-45 change is the same coming back thru.”

5.     Bradford:                         Hwy 45

271 Reports                       98% Acknowledgement Rate

“The city of Bradford now has a speed camera that can be moved around. It is on a white trailer so watch out.”

Ten Tennessee Cities with Most Reported Speed Traps (for the Last Five Years) 



Number   of Speed Traps

Acknowledgement   Rate






Johnson City



































* Acknowledgement rate is the percentage of yes votes to total votes by motorists indicating whether the reported locations, in their opinions, are actually speed traps. Data are available at the links provided.

About The National Speed Trap Exchange

With the development of The National Speed Trap Exchange (http://www.speedtrap.org/) more than 10 years ago, the National Motorists Association pioneered the use of interactive media to alert motorists to potential speed trap activity in their communities. Since then the site has reported on nearly 80,000 speed traps throughout the United States and Canada.

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4 Responses to “NMA Speed Trap Spotlight: Tennessee”

  1. Al says:

    Just got pulled over by a Douglas Co., Ga. Deputy and given a "warning" for "no license plate light" with a little lecture on obeying the traffic laws.
    Well, next place I got out I looked at the light and it was … you guessed it, ON!
    Even if it had burned out, when do bulbs burn out? When the car is parked with the lights off? When the car is going along the road with lights off?
    2 Deputies were sitting chatting when I passed with my wife and children in the car. The one whipped out and zoomed up behind our car like it was an emergency.
    The way the laws are written, if any lights are out when the rest are on, you can be cited and fined. If your car has 2 or more license plate bulbs (my old Citroen station wagon had 4! 2 on each side) if any one of them is out you can be cited and fined. 3rd brake light with a dozen LEDs and one is out? You can be cited and fined. Usually the cops are not that determined but as the patrol cop's attention to such stuff is determined almost 100% by the emphasis his sergeant, lieutenant, higher etc. places. Most of them would prefer to be sitting at the doughnut shop sipping coffee and chatting the waitress and get out on the road only when they have to or something that gives an adrenaline rush happens.

  2. Al says:

    The incident I shared a while back about being cited for "signaling" a cop with my headlights has resulted in apparently a dead issue. The Public Defender advised me to demand a jury trial. He is a former Federal Prosecutor (Assistant US Attorney, I guess) and said that he could not imagine the Fulton Co. (Atlanta) District Attorney's office ever setting a trial date.
    All "satellite" cities in Fulton Co. cannot hold jury trials. All jury trials are held in Fulton Co. court.
    Can you imagine a flashed headlight trial being set in that court, which calendar is chock full of murders, armed robberies, child molestations, knifings, shootings, etc.? The PD couldn't.
    Tennessee used to do its highway biznis on the "fee system." If you were pulled over and cited, and were from out of the county, you were taken to the Magistrate for a bond hearing. If you were obstinate enough to come back for trial instead of "forfeiting bond" (letting it go for the fine), if you were found guilty the Deputy or Cop and the Judge received part of the fine as their "fees." If you were found "not guilty" they got nothing and you got your bond back. Guess how often the latter happened. Like if you showed up with your Uncle or Grandfather, who were major donors to the Judge's re-election campaign, or something like that, or if the Judge learned that the Governor was your wife's brother.

  3. J.F. Thompson says:

    There is a speed trap for profit operating very vigorously in spring city tn. The speed limit has been lowered to 40 m.p.h. along a stretch of highway 27 quiet a distance from the town itself. This is a four lane road that had a 55 m.p.h. speed limit when it was only two lanes.
    I recently observed the proceedings that were going on in their traffic court. For starters they were making sure that the defendants were totally intimidated by having all their officers standing menacingly in the room, many had the appearance of skinheads except for two females. Several of the defendants had to travel great distances to attend this traffic court, and few of them appeared to be able to pay the huge fines. In addition the judge was not really a judge but an attorney from another town down the road. It is a crying shame that this highway robbery is even allowed to exist. In addition it appears that they are employing more officers than needed for a town this size. Something definitely needs to be done about this despairing situation.

  4. Wyman Grindstaff says:

    I drove across Tennessee a few weeks ago and was given a ticket for “not moving over”. I was on HY 64 without a city in site but the policeman was from the city of Winchester. Is this a known speed trap city? Is there a legal definition of “move over”? ie how much given traffic conditions. The fine is $82.75 which looks to me to be a tax on the tourists.