Speed Trap at a Crossroads: NMA Weekly E-Newsletter #489

Parkers Crossroads is a quiet little Tennessee hamlet (pop. 330) adjacent to Interstate 40, located about midway between Memphis and Nashville. Blink for an instant and you might miss Exit 108, the only direct access to Parkers Crossroads from the interstate, as you motor by.

Not too many have had to worry about that, though, because the PC police─and by that we don’t mean “politically correct” police─have stopped more than their share of passersby for alleged speeding infractions. Parkers Crossroads has gained a notorious reputation on our Speedtrap.org website; drivers have voted at a rate of more than 125:1 that it is indeed a speed trap.

An I-40 traveler recently fought back after being ticketed and, as a thank you to the NMA and as a service to his fellow drivers, he posted on Speedtrap a do-it-yourself legal antidote for the Parkers Crossroads sting. This type of valuable shared information for motorists is exactly why the NMA developed The National Speed Trap Exchange and its cousin site, The Roadblock Registry, as free online forums for the driving community.

Here is the helpful advocate’s Parkers Crossroads post, edited for clarity. The NMA makes no guarantees that adherence to these instructions will result in the dismissal of a citation.

Any citations issued by Parkers Crossroads on I-40 lack legal standing and should therefore be dismissed at no cost to the accused. That is in fact what was determined by the City Judge after I submitted the documents described below. The Judge was very reasonable. He recognized the legal issue presented, and not only dismissed my citation, but asserted he would make sure Parkers Crossroads law enforcement was made aware that they should not be making traffic stops on I-40.  

If the judge follows through, perhaps this will no longer be a concern for anyone, but if it weren’t for this website (Speedtrap.org), I might never have gone looking and learned all of this. So, I wanted to share what I learned as a thank you and as a help to others if needed. 

Near exit 108 of I-40, officers park along this short stretch of low hills where they can hide, particularly well at night. A bridge around Mile 110 seems to be a favorite. If you are pulled over driving on the interstate and written a citation by Parkers Crossroads police, rather than by a State Trooper or perhaps even a Henderson County Sheriff’s Officer, you have grounds for dismissal. This small municipality is not authorized to enforce the Rules of the Road on Interstate 40.

If you find yourself in this position, consider sending the following to the P.O. Box provided on the citation along with the materials described: 

To Whom It May Concern, 

I am writing with regard to Citation No. ____issued on Interstate 40 by the municipality of Parkers Crossroads. Included with this letter are documents from the State of Tennessee and the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security showing that Parkers Crossroads has not been authorized to enforce the Rules of the Road on Interstate 40. I am requesting that the citation in question be dismissed. 

[Contact Information]

Documentation of relevant Tennessee law:

Tennessee House Bill 1863 (pdf)
Passed April 21, 2014, amends Tennessee Code Anotated Title 55:

As enacted, revises provisions governing the enforcement of certain traffic offenses on interstate highways by municipalities; removes the authority for certain municipalities to so enforce the rules of the road. 

Amendment No. 1 to HB 1863 (pdf)
This amendment adds the following language to the appropriate section of Title 55:

No municipality having a population of ten thousand (10,000) or less, according to the 2010 federal census or any subsequent federal census, and with at least two (2) entrance ramps to and at least two (2) exit ramps from an interstate highway shall be authorized to enforce chapter 8 of this title and §§ 55-10-101 – 55-10-310 when the contiguous stretch of the interstate highway between such entrance and exit ramps does not lie solely within the territorial limits of the municipality. 

Call the Tennessee Department of Safety Commissioner (615) 251-5166 and request a copy of any documents regarding the Interstate Authority Agreement for Parkers Crossroads, TN. You will be directed to send this request via email along with a copy of your drivers license, and if you do so, you should receive a document that concludes with the statement “This office has no responsive documents with regard to your request” meaning that no authorization to enforce the Rules of the Road on any stretch of the interstate has been granted to the municipality in question. 

Review the municipal requirement in the provided documents, and if you get a citation anywhere else in Tennessee where there could be a question of authority to police the interstate, request their Interstate Authority Agreement from the Department of Safety and you might find similar grounds for dismissal. 

Good Luck & Safe and Happy Travels Everyone

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