The National Motorists Association has compiled a state-by-state list of the “Worst Speed Trap Cities” in the country. For Missouri, the undisputed winner was the town of Foristell in St. Charles County. The small town of 330 people issued more then 3,200 traffic-related tickets in 2006, with overall fines totaling $284,367.
Nothing makes me angrier than cities that use traffic violations as their primary source of revenue. There is no reason why small towns in urban counties should even maintain a police department, let alone use it to enforce traffic laws on interstate and state highways. Clearly this is a job that would be better performed at the county level, where law enforcement should be used to protect motorists from reckless drivers (rather than issuing tickets to motorists going three or four miles over the speed limit on a rural road). And this goes for red-light cameras, police checkpoints, and everything else Dave likes to quip about, too.
When small towns (I’m looking at you, Bella Villa and St. George), use their police forces to intimidate and harass motorists, they undermine support for the state’s police officers in general. And that’s not fair to the thousands of honest, hardworking police officers who are protecting Missouri’s citizens.