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On the I45 Speed Trap

Steve Blow published a column on the notorious I 45 speed trap. I was happy to be interviewed to highlight the highway robbery in Ellis County.
I spoke with Steve two weeks ago and reminded him that we met in 1995 at a high school journalism conference. I was a columnist for the Eagle Eye looking to hone my craft. I remember Steve’s advise to this day- write columns like a letter to your friends. On to the speed trap.

I live in Ennis and my caseload is mainly in Dallas and Kaufman. Going to work in Kaufman means a 26 mile trip on state highway 34. The speed limit on this two lane country road reaches 65 mph. The limit is lower when passing through Scurry/Rosser.

When I go to Dallas I take I-45 north, an expansive 6 lane divided highway. The speed limit on I-45 N? 60 or 65 mph. Guess which road is infested with speed traps?

Here is the speed trap formula; government greed + ridiculously low speed limit = Speed Trap
The 60-65 mph speed limit on I-45 is almost universally ignored by commuters because it is meaningless. Going 70-75 (as most non local traffic does) creates no risk to traffic safety.

However, it does create a situation where LEO can ticket as many motorists as they want. The only thing that keeps LEO from writing more tickets is the Texas speed trap law that limits the % of local government revenue that can come from traffic citations.

LEO always has the same “this will save lives” reaction when criticized. Here is Palmer Police Chief John Zaidle explaining why you want his officers robbing drivers for speeding.

“We do make some revenue off the highway,” conceded Palmer Police Chief John Zaidle. “But we have fatalities out there. And my feeling is the more we’re out there, the less we will have of that.”

I’m calling bullshit on that one. Mr. Zaidle, your speeding tickets have no effect on fatalities. However, they do have a devastating effect on commuter’s wallets. This is a recession and drivers do not have a spare $200 for Palmer to steal.

Just because you can ticket drivers ad naseum, doesn’t mean you should. Mr. Zaidle highlights why we need limited government and greater police oversight, because even the simple power to ticket drivers will be abused.

Government greed, not safety, is why Palmer PD harasses motorists on I-45.

Further reading-
Ferris Police and the I-45 Speed Trap
I-45 Speed Trap Follow Up

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