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Do Speed Traps Protect Us or Just Annoy Us?

You’re driving along and then all of the sudden out of nowhere there is a policeman on the side of the road, partially blocked by some trees. The next AutoBody-Review Do speed traps protect us or just annoy us?thing you know the siren is on full blast and a police car is on your tail. You’ve been caught in a speed trap! At Woody Anderson Ford Collision Center, we see it happen all the time in Huntsville, AL when drivers get caught in speed traps.

A speed trap is an area of roadway where there is hidden law enforcement—whether it’s a county sheriff deputy, city cop or state trooper—catching vehicles going over the speed limit. They are usually in areas where motorists violate the speed limit or where they are many accidents, such as schools, playgrounds, downhill inclines and locations where speed limits change.

Law enforcement has used radar detectors for many years to catch speedsters, but laser guns have been found to be more accurate.

Another method is aerial detection. With this technique, the officer is in a helicopter or airplane. Lines are painted on two ends of a highway and the officer will calculate how long it takes to travel between the lines. Another method is to visually estimate the speed of the cars and compare it to the ground speed of the helicopter. Either way, the officer can then call down to a patrol car below to ticket the driver.

Another type of speed trap is a speed camera, which is often on a telephone pole or lamppost. Although they aren’t as common in the United States, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, speed cameras have been used in Europe, Canada and other parts of the world for more than 30 years.

Many motorists criticize the use of speed traps and say they are set up to raise money for municipalities. The National Motorists Association advises motorists who want to eliminate speed traps in their areas to talk to local businesses, the local media and elected officials.

Those looking to avoid speed traps can download free smartphone apps that tell you where the police car with the radar is located. Radar detectors are also sold at varying prices. Speedtrap.org lists more than 8,000 speed traps across the United States and Canada posted by drivers.

Whether you’re in favor of speed traps or feel they are unfair, the best way to avoid a ticket is to drive safe and slow down!

Sources: NHTSA, AAA and Yahoo

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