3/26/2010Texas: Small Town Speed Traps Rake In Millions
Forty small Texas towns generated $178 million in speeding ticket revenue from 2000 to 2008.
The top forty speed traps in the state of Texas raked in a total of $178,367,093 in speeding ticket revenue between 2000 and 2008 despite having a combined population of less than 56,000 residents. Motorist Aren Cambre collected ticket issuance data from the state's Office of Court Administration to identify which towns generated the most revenue per capita from speeding tickets.
Cambre said "intellectual curiosity" drove him to analyze the records. He found that the town of Westlake issued an average of 38 tickets worth $4696 each year for every resident. The small community contracted with the Keller Police Department to have traffic units stake out Highway 114 to issue a high volume of tickets to drivers passing through the small town. Keller Police Chief Mark Hafner defended the ticketing practices as essential to reducing fatalities on that freeway.
"When we took over policing in 2002, Highway 114 had three to four fatals a year," Hafner told WFAA-TV in an interview. "In the last two years, we have not had a fatal accident on highway 114."
Cambre pulled the accident statistics for all of Westlake and for Highway 114 in particular. There were never more than two fatalities in any one year across the entire town. On Highway 114, there were a total of just three fatalities from 1996 to 2008. The number of fatalities did not change with the amount of tickets issued.
"I see no correlation," Cambre wrote. "Except maybe a lack of a correlation between fatal wrecks and tickets -- although I admit that you can't draw much of a conclusion from this limited data."
Estelline, Domino, Montgomery, Martindale, Cuney, Palmer, Rio Vista, Riesel and Patton Village rounded out the list of the top ten speed traps. The full list is available in a 75k PDF file at the source link below, or in their original form here.