There are a number of legitimate reasons for a police officer to issue a speeding ticket. Typically the reasons given by an officer are enforcing safe driving speeds and keeping the roads safe for everyone. These are legitimate reasons; however, a number of states and local municipalities have set low speed limits or installed ticket cameras simply to generate revenue. These "speed traps" have speed limits below what the majority of the population drives and issuing tickets, either from a ticket camera or based upon these absurd speed limits is wrong.
Speed limits should be established based upon an engineering study of the road and the speeds at which the majority of drivers drive. Arizona's speed limits are intended to be set "at or below which 85 percent of the drivers are traveling" (Arizona Department of Transportation, 2007). The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (USDOT / FHWA) endorses setting speed limits at the 85 percentile (U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, 2003 para. 10); however, states can reduce speed limits if they feel there is a justifiable cause.
Some of the typical reasons municipalities give for setting speed limits below what the USDOT recommends are accident experience and adjacent development. Both of these reasons are designed to benefit the local or state governments and not the drivers. It is the responsibility of the government agency whose jurisdiction presides over the streets and highways not to allow adjacent development to permanently interfere or impede traffic patterns.
Most drivers would agree that if there is a stretch of highway that is unsafe we would prefer the road be fixed to make it safer. Setting a slower speed limit for a particular area of road does not necessarily mean the road will become safer; in actuality it can make the road more dangerous. In fact, "federal and state studies have consistently shown that the... [continues]
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