Michigan suburb tops list for speed traps

John Egan

Livonia, Mich., a Detroit suburb, is the speed trap capital of the United States and Canada, according to a new list from the National Motorists Association.

The association, which promotes motorists' rights, says Livonia had 27.9 speed traps per 100,000 residents from September 2009 through August 2011. It was followed by Windsor, Ontario, with 17.6 speed traps per 100,000 residents, and Orlando, Fla. (17.2). Other U.S. and Canadian cities on the list are, in descending order:

  • Las Vegas -- 11.1 speed traps per 100,000 residents.
  • Denver -- 10.9.
  • Reno, Nev. -- 10.4.
  • Tampa, Fla. -- 8.9.
  • Colorado Springs, Colo. -- 7.2.
  • Austin, Texas -- 6.1.
  • Sarasota, Fla. -- 6.1.
  • Portland, Ore. -- 5.8.
  • Jacksonville, Fla. -- 5.4.
  • San Antonio -- 5.3.
  • Fresno, Calif. -- 5.0.
  • Hamilton, Ontario -- 5.0.
  • New Orleans -- 4.7.
  • Toronto -- 4.7.
  • Houston -- 4.0.
  • Edmonton, Alberta -- 3.3.
  • San Diego -- 3.2.
  • Indianapolis -- 3.2.
  • San Jose, Calif. -- 3.1.
  • Chicago -- 1.9.
  • Los Angeles -- 1.6.
  • New York City -- 0.9.

California and Florida had the most cities on the top 25 list, with four each.

Among U.S. states, Vermont had the most speed traps per 100,000 residents (11.4), followed by New Hampshire (11.3), Michigan (9.4), Wyoming (9.2) and Colorado (9.1).

The National Motorists Association's listing is unscientific. It's based on motorists reporting speed traps in cities with at least 100,000 residents.

"Speed traps are characterized by arbitrarily low speed limits and heavy traffic enforcement. Motorists should be alert in those areas to avoid receiving citations," the National Motorists Association says.

The National Motorists Association's National Speed Trap Exchange lists speed traps in the United States and Canada at www.speedtrap.org. The nonprofit group complains that speed traps are designed to generate money for local governments.

In Michigan, Livonia Police Chief Robert Stevenson told The New York Times that that's not the case.

“We don’t write tickets for money,” Stevenson says. “Besides, money goes into the city’s general fund, so whether I write ten or a hundred tickets, it never makes a difference to our budget.”

Stevenson tells The Detroit News: "We do traffic enforcement, and that doesn't qualify as a speed trap."

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