The National Motorists Association's recently released speed trap website has garnered a lot of attention, especially in Mahwah, New Jersey. The NMA recently dubbed Mahwah the "worst speed trap" in the state based on the number of complaints users listed on the new website.
Although the title is not the result of any scientific study on speed traps, the pronouncement led a Star-Ledger reporter to ride along with a Mahwah traffic officer. That ride-along resulted in some interesting information for drivers in danger of being issued traffic tickets in New Jersey.
Do police officers write tickets to meet a quota? The officer from Mahwah addressed the old myth that police officers issue speeding tickets to meet a "quota." Although he denied the quota, he did say that officers have individual "monthly reviews conducted on [their] productivity." So while they do not have department-wide "quotas," each officer does have an incentive to write traffic tickets.
How often are people pulled over? In a two hour time span, the officer pulled over five vehicles. Of those five, he issued tickets to three. Two of the tickets were for speeding, and one was for "obstructing traffic."
So what was different about the drivers who got off with warnings? They were excessively polite and did not offer warn-out excuses. One woman who made an illegal u-turn acknowledged the mistake and admitted to being distracted by her GPS because she was lost. The other driver also admitted he was speeding and apologized to the officer.
Traffic violations can have serious consequences. Insurance rates can increase, your driver's license can be threatened and you can be saddled with steep fines. Avoiding the traffic ticket altogether is best. However, when you are pulled over having more knowledge can be helpful.
Source: The Star-Ledger nj.com, "Mahwah police wear badge of 'worst speed trap in N.J. with pride," Mike Frassinelli, 26 Sept 2010
Comments: Leave a comment