Arkansas bill would tweak state's speed trap law

| 12/28/2006

Some Arkansas towns would like to write more traffic tickets. As a result, the Arkansas Municipal League will pursue legislation in the session that begins Jan. 8 to amend the state's speed trap law.

Don Zimmerman, executive director of the Municipal League, said the current speed trap law in Arkansas makes it difficult for small town police departments to enforce traffic laws, the Arkansas News Bureau reported.

State law is intended to prevent small towns from generating the bulk of their revenue from speeding fines. It also caps the amount of general revenue brought in by traffic tickets to 30 percent.

In addition, existing law limits the number of tickets written for exceeding the posted speed limit by 10 mph or less to no more than 50 percent of the total, the News Bureau reported.

Zimmerman said the restrictions hurt some towns with really small budgets. He said the 30-percent revenue cap prevents some locals from even writing a ticket a day when they may have a real speeding problem.

A draft bill would offer some help. It would raise the amount of general revenue that can be brought in by tickets to 50 percent.

Rep. Beverly Pyle, R-Cedarville, said she has met with law enforcement, prosecutors and mayors from around the state to discuss ways to amend the speed trap law so there is a balance between enforcing speed limits and abusing the authority to fill city coffers.

Pyle told KTHV-TV in Little Rock she is looking into sponsoring a bill to change the speed trap law.