The Traveling Public Can Go Elsewhere

By James Baxter, NMA President

According to public opinion, there are 57,000 speed traps in the United States. That’s how many speed traps have been listed by individuals on, a website sponsored by the NMA. That averages out to 1140 speed traps per state.

Of course some states lead the charge, like California with 5399 speed traps. On the other end of the spectrum is Alaska with “only” 51 speed traps. These are not numbers you’re likely to find published in state tourism brochures. However, they are numbers you might want to consider when planning your next vacation.

Speed traps are an economic phenomenon; they are a source of revenue for state and local governments, local court systems and police departments. Adding extra juice to the financial pie are federal funds targeted on speed enforcement. This is a double dipping extravaganza where police departments not only bag the fines but also get federal funds for manpower, equipment, and related expenses.

We the people get to pay for this on both ends, through our taxes and then the ticket fines and insurance surcharges.

The chart at the bottom of this post lists the number of speed traps in each state. You might want to write a letter to the governor and/or tourism agency in one or more of these states, perhaps a state you were planning on visiting, and let them know that while you’re happy to spend money on goods and services you are not keen on being milked by the state patrol or a small town ticket mill. Consequently, you are reconsidering your travel plans.

You will probably receive a condescending bureaucratic reply saying something like “if you abide by our traffic laws you should have no occasion to be stopped and cited by one of our fine police officers.” This, of course, is nonsense and they know it.

But, bottom line, they’ll get the message “if you’re going to screw the traveling public, the traveling public can go elsewhere.”

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