Alabama bill would repeal speed trap rule

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, February 19, 2014

An Alabama Senate panel has taken the first step toward giving law enforcement in small towns the authority to ticket speeders on interstates.

Since 1996, Alabama law has prohibited police in cities with fewer than 19,000 residents from enforcing speed laws on interstate highways. The ban, which was attached to a bill boosting speeds to 70 mph, also applies to any land outside of city limits.

The Senate Commerce, Transportation and Utilities Committee voted 6-1 to advance a bill that would allow police in affected towns to issue speeding tickets on interstate highways.

Sponsored by Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, the bill would allow speed enforcement for all police departments on roads outside of city limits but within their jurisdictions.

Dial has pursued the authorization each year he’s been at the statehouse. Only once in five attempts has the effort advanced from the Senate.

Supporters say the law should be changed because there are not enough state troopers for speed enforcement on Alabama’s eight interstates. They also say putting more local officers on the interstates would result in safer travel.

Opponents say the ban is necessary to prevent small towns from creating speed traps on interstates and using ticket revenue to fill city coffers.

The bill, SB24, awaits consideration on the Senate floor. If approved there, it would move to the House.

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