A speed trap is a spot of the roadway where police wait to catch speeding drivers. This is usually done by using radar, but many officers have now switched to laser guns, which give a more accurate reading. These officers are usually hiding in inconspicuous spots or they use the placement of signage to their advantage. All drivers need to know is the system is set up to catch anyone who disobeys the law.
We have created a list of weird things you probably did not know about speed traps. A few of these might blow your mind and others may leave you paranoid about speeding. Keep reading to learn ten weird facts about speed traps!
10 Not All Speed Cameras Are On
You probably come across a speed camera at some time or another, but what's interesting is the fact that not all of them are turned on. Many times they are used as a deterrent in areas where people tend to speed, but in other scenarios, the law prevents them from actually taking pictures.
It is always better to play it safe when they are involved (and drive safely in general, of course), but on the off-chance you do happen to speed by one, you might be in the clear.
9 There are apps that can show you potential speed trap areas
There are several apps out there that drivers can use to identify speed trap areas or even get live updates on where police are lying in wait. It might seem like a strange concept and unlawful to help people avoid arrest for breaking the law, but sometimes people have emergencies.
They can come in handy especially when you are running late for work or rushing to the hospital to see the birth of your unborn child. Things happen and that is why people have created this lifesaver to help you in your times of need.
8 They use something called the "Pedal Test"
The 'Pedal Test' is used to justify whether or not a speed trap is lawful. A driver pulls even with the first speed limit at the posted speed and then they take their foot off of the pedal.
The speed trap is considered legal if the car can slow itself down to the speed of the next posted speed limit sign. The driver should not have to apply any brakes before reaching the sign and if it is deemed legal, it is a likely spot for officers to sit.
7 Usually, they let shrubbery block speed or traffic signs
Shrubs are supposed to be trimmed back from posted speed limit signs, but sometimes cities or the police prevent this or fail to report it. They use it as a way to trap motorists who are unfamiliar with the area and the change in speed from one segment of the roadway to the next.
The sign is technically posted, and although it is invisible, they can still use it against you. It might seem unlawful, but it is a way for a city to make more revenue.
6 They put numerous signs together to confuse drivers
There are times cities will post multiple speed limit signs within a small vicinity to confuse drivers. It might be a drastic change or multiple small ones, but it is enough for your car to drift into speeding territory.
It is important to pay attention in these areas as this is a common speed trap and usually, law enforcement is waiting nearby to catch you in the act of disobeying the law. It might seem weird for a city or town to do this, but it helps stop motorists who fear speeding tickets.
5 In the 1950s and 60s in Ludowici, Georgia, the police used to control the traffic signals to ensnare victims
This is an uncommon speed trap case that was eventually outlawed after the political figures of the state caught wind of what was happening. The police officers would change the light from green to red at varying speeds to trap drivers unfamiliar with the area.
They might speed ahead to catch a light or fly through one that has turned completely red. It was not right and drivers everywhere are glad this is no longer an issue in this town in Georgia, or anywhere for that matter.
4 Speed Traps are not considered Entrapment
Entrapment is the act of tricking someone into committing a crime, but this is not the case with speed traps. They don't ask motorists to speed or disobey the traffic laws, which is why this argument never wins in court.
The only way it would be considered entrapment is if an officer in an unmarked vehicle challenged you to a race and then arrested you when you broke the speed limit. Speed traps have been deemed a safety measure to protect citizens and help mitigate speeding on roadways.
3 Speed traps can be aerial
Speed traps can be aerial if a police force uses planes or helicopters to alert officers down below to speeding vehicles. They paint two lines on a highway and jot down the time it takes for a car to travel between the two lines. This number can be used to determine a car's speed and if they are above the speed limit, then they call down to their fellow officers who pull them over.
It might seem like a way to cheat the system, but it is a useful method to catch speeders who have their eyes out for police cars.
2 Speed enforcement laws differ from state to state
It might be interesting to know that the speed enforcement laws differ depending upon the state you are traveling through. There are some, like Ohio, who have narrowed the scope of the use of speed cameras.
There are other states, like Indiana, who are allowed to use unmarked cars as their vehicles, as long as the officer is in uniform. It might be worth your while to research the states you plan on traveling through before a trip to make sure you avoid a costly ticket.
1 Officers can hide in private residences to catch speeding motorists
This is probably the weirdest fact of them all and one most people probably did not know about. Officers can hide on your private residence to capture speeding motorists until the owner of the residence asks them to leave their property.
The tickets and arrests they made prior to being asked to leave still stand after the fact. This law seems surreal and although you may never experience this personally, it is still something to keep an eye on as officers could literally be hiding anywhere.