who drives through rural America is familiar with the cherry pit that section
of highway through a small town where the speed limit drops and the police
cruisers or cherry tops lay in wait for hapless speeders.
Opponents of speed traps
have long criticized the practice, saying it's more about income than enforcement.
And now, spurred by a new study, a group of those critics are asking Oklahoma
to make the traps illegal, The Associated Press reported Dec. 31.
"People are using
police as a method of tax collection, Jim Baxter, president of the National
Motorists Association, told The AP. It undermines the public's view
of traffic enforcement." Baxter's group promotes legislation to outlaw
The report, conducted by The
Sunday Oklahoman, showed at least 18 Oklahoma communities get 26 percent
or more of their incomes from speeding tickets. The paper looked at audits
of every town and city in the state to derive the figures. Police fines
made up more than 70 percent of city revenue in two of the communities
examined in the study. Hardesty, OK, a panhandle town on U.S. 412 just
north of the Texas border; and Stringtown, OK, which sits on U.S. 69 in
the southeast part of the state.