and truckers alike are watching with great interest as a new bill continues
to clear legislative hurdles in Oklahoma.
was written to allow the state’s public safety commissioner to crack down
on certain speed traps in small towns that use them as moneymakers.
states, including Arkansas, Texas and Missouri, have passed laws to limit
the amount of money a community can keep from police fines, but in Oklahoma,
the sky is the limit. For that reason, towns like Stringtown, Big Cabin,
Caney, Valley Brook, Moffett, Asher and Watts are well-known to truckers
and motorists alike. According to an investigation by The Oklahoman,
at least 18 communities in the state get more than 26 percent of their
money from police fines.
could change all that. Sponsored by Speaker of the House Larry Adair, D-Stilwell,
the bill could result in certain municipalities losing the authority to
write all those speeding tickets.
to The Oklahoman, Adair said he wrote the bill because of constituents’ concerns
that some departments were using traffic enforcement as a primary means
to raise revenue. One of those constituents is Fred H. Gravett, OOIDA senior
member from Atoka, OK. Gravett has been on the front line of thespeed trap
battle for more than five years and credits new interest, including that
of the state’s new governor, Brad Henry, for the recent progress.
that allow this to continue need to be history,” Gravett said. “Stringtown
and Big Cabin are the worst, but truckers should watch Big Cabin on I-44
the reasons Gravett and his allies are finally getting the state to move
in the right direction is that several of these communities may have become
so greedy that they overstepped their legal bounds. State officials are
now investigating several communities for possible violation of the state’s
speed trap law. Public Safety Commissioner Bob Ricks told the newspaper
the towns might have annexed more land for the sole purpose of writing
investigation by The Oklahoman revealed eight cities and towns in
the state get more than 50 percent of their money from police fines, and
at least 18 communities get more than 26 percent of their money from police
fines. Stringtown makes the most money off traffic fines on a per-capita
basis, at $872 annually.
the complaints have fallen on deaf ears. Under the proposed bill, Public
Safety Commissioner Bob Ricks would be given the power to take local law
enforcers off certain state highways and interstates and reassign those
roads to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
the proposed bill would give Ricks the authority to further investigate
complaints of municipalities operating speed traps.