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Greenville, OBX & Rocky Mount, North Carolina

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Kevin Duffan
Kevin Duffan
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Speed Trap Campaigns: Safety Initiatives or Revenue Generators?

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Consider these numbers from the Virginian-Pilot: During Easter Week 2012, police across the state of North Carolina (NC) issued 39,000 traffic and criminal citations. At least 13,500 of those were for “lead-footed drivers,” and another 3,000 were for seat belt violations. More specifically, 426 were for child passenger safety violations.

Seem like speed traps are maybe a quick and easy way for police forces to generate revenue under the guise of “traffic safety”? Well then consider this number, too:

In 2011 alone, there were 428 speed-related traffic fatalities on North Carolina (NC) roads.

Seem like maybe safety isn’t really a guise, but the main motivation? The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. The revenue is certainly a boost for cash-strapped law enforcement offices, but the bottom line is that speeding is a serious highway safety issue and issuing citations to people who are actually in violation of the law is what law enforcement officers are supposed to be doing.

According to a press release from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, the “No Need 2 Speed” campaign also resulted in 1,003 drug charges, the apprehension of 819 fugitives from justice, and the recovery of 51 stolen vehicles. Suffice it to say that law enforcement had a very productive week that not only made our roadways a little safer for Easter travel, but resulted in safer communities as well. (Check out the effect on your county here.)

Speed traps are always a bit controversial and ideally our law enforcement officers would be able to carry out their duties without the need for special weeks designated as “high enforcement” weeks. But they may just be a necessary evil of law enforcement, providing a window for officers to make serious impacts on our highways and in our communities.

About the Editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.