7/26/2005Oklahoma Shuts Down Speed Trap
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety has shut down a speed trap that generated 72 percent of a town's revenue.
Police in Big Cabin, Oklahoma will have their ticket-writing privileges suspended for six months beginning next Monday. This action follows a state Department of Public Safety investigation that found nearly three-fourths of the town's revenue -- $492,826 of its $681,028 budget -- came from traffic citations in the last fiscal year. Under Oklahoma law, a city may not receive more than half its income from such fines.
The majority of the revenue came from enforcing the speed limit on US highway 69, which is 55 MPH through the town -- except for one quarter-mile stretch where it drops to 45 MPH. A local truck stop owner who believed the excessive speed enforcement was hurting business erected a large "speed trap ahead" sign to warn motorists. After the problem continued, the owner filed the successful speed trap complaint against the town.
State troopers will enforce the laws on US 69 until February 1, 2006.
How to report a speed trap
Legislation approved in 2004 allows the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety to investigate communities that gain 50 percent or more of their operating revenue from writing tickets on state or federal highways within or on the outskirts of that town.
The state can legally prevent cities from enforcing traffic laws on the highways if they are viewed as abusing that right.
The DPS must have approval from the state attorney general before designating an area as "special traffic-related enforcement."
All complaints against alleged speed traps must be filed with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety in writing.
Complaints should be mailed to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, P.O. Box 11415, Oklahoma City, Okla., 73136-0415.
Online complaints also can be filed at: www.dps.state.ok.us