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.
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 speed traps.
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.