Mar 13 2006
12:51 pm

A couple of bills have been introduced in the Tennessee General Assembly that would crack down on speed traps.

HB3614 would declare that any municipality deriving 20% or more of its revenues from speeding tickets is abusing its police powers and would authorize the district attorney general and the TBI to investigate them. It would also apply to municipalities who issue more than 50% of their speeding tickets for exceeding the speed limit by 10 MPH or less.

HB3864 would require any municipality that derives 50% or more of its revenues from speeding tickets to post its speed limits using blue signs. This would presumably give new meaning to the term "blue highways". The corollary to this, of course, is that it's OK for a municipality to earn up to 50% of its revenues operating a speed trap.

On a somewhat related note, if you look at any local or state government budget under "revenues", they have an expected amount of income listed for fines. In other words, they expect people to break the law and depend on it as a source of revenue. When people don't break a particular law, they rewrite it or make up a new one. Like installing red light cameras and tweaking the traffic signal timings. And people wonder how kids learn to disrespect authority.

SemiPundit's picture

Red light cameras

Hopefully, many of those who have supported this idiotic idea will be the first to get the postcards. Based on people I have talked to about this, probably 90% of our fellow citizens will learn about the cameras when they get their first card in the mail.

I still wonder if drivers will be able to pull out across an intersection after the light has changed with any more confidence that they will not be T-boned because of the protection provided by the cameras. As for me, I will continue my usual procedure of checking to see if the intersection has cleared before I pull out.

Will the photos be available to litigators in accidents? Will the photos be available to the public to see which ones were thrown out, like perhaps those of influential public figures and their friends and relatives?

How will accountability of the funds be handled? Will the expenditures be clearly shown to improve the safety of the intersections, or will they be used for new office carpeting?

Brian A.'s picture


When people don't break a particular law, they rewrite it or make up a new one.

I just saw this touched on the other night on a Dukes of Hazzard rerun.

Who says you can't learn anything from TV? 

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

Justin's picture

Are the ones in Knoxville

Are the ones in Knoxville operational yet? I saw a list a few days ago via the "internets" that had a few locations going live this week. Also...are they going to have signs etc...alerting everyone about their new <strike>fund raising measures</strike> safety measures at the intersections?

Car Guy's picture

In the news in the past week

In the news in the past week was a small town north of Nashville that got around 30% of its revenue from tickets. If I recall the article correctly, it had also been placed on AAA's list of most stringent enforcement areas in the whole country.

graham shevlin's picture

Law enforcement as a revenue-gathering strategy

The real underlying issue is the use (or abuse) of law enforcement as a means of generating revenue for local districts. This process has been going on in Europe for some time. The result is that the public has learned to disrespect most highway regulations such as speed limits, parking restrictions etc. because they believe that many of those regulations have been crafted not to improve road safety but simply to generate revenues. In parts of North West Germany a loophole in the highway regulations many years ago gave local districts the ability to introduce speed limits on sections of autobahn that passed through their territory. The rest of the autobahn would have no speed limits, but the local district would put in a 130 km/h limit and then hang speed cameras under bridges to catch offenders and give them a choking fit when they opened their mail at breakfast. I lived in Brussels at the time and the locals actually drew the locations of the speed zones on the map for me when I went on a weekend trip to Koln and Dusseldorf -they lived in another country 200 miles away but everybody knew all about it and they clearly regarded it as a dysfunctional joke.

We should not conflate law enforcement with creating revenues. The law should be inviolate and not influenced by financial considerations (and yes, I am aware of now stunningly naive I may sound. I plead guilty by reason of idealism).

SemiPundit's picture


In the end, this will be a big embarrassment and a testimonial not only to their cynicism, but to the incompetence of the decision makers as well.

For what it's worth, on two occasions recently I have come within inches of plowing into the back end of cars whose drivers slammed the brakes on at the Cedar Bluff and Peters Road intersection the instant the light turned yellow. They are spooked already.

Justin's picture

check this link out via

check this link out via instapundit



A Hennepin County judge has temporarily put a lens cap over the cameras that capture drivers running red lights at 12 of Minneapolis' most accident-prone intersections.

The ruling Tuesday to shut off the cameras doesn't necessarily mean the thousands of people who have paid the $142 fine will be getting a refund, and further legal action may be needed to sort out that issue. The "Stop on Red" program, started in July, generated about $1 million in the first six months. Nearly half of that was paid to the camera company.

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