29 April 2008

The effort to ban "speed traps" in Louisiana

I wish I would have posted this in MTR first, kinda. Way to beat me to it, Matt. Anyway...

Article from Biloxi (MS) Sun-Herald

I wish they would get rid of the practice. I've lived in Louisiana, and some of the "speed trap" towns have been infamous for a long time. In the area where I live, Sun and Abita Springs are the worst offenders. Most people here know about these towns, and even if they can't bypass them (Good luck bypassing Sun if you're going from southern St. Tammany up to Bogalusa where the charity hospital is...) and have to cut through the main roads, they still "avoid" the town. They don't stop, they'll just wait til they get to the next town and fill the gas tank or grab a bite to eat, no matter how far away that is. Of these towns, the worst offenders don't have anything else to draw in the traveler, no kind of tourist traps or places of historical value. The towns get little to no tax revenue from travelers because of the reputation, so they're forced to supplement the town coffers by writing tickets for absurd stuff, and in the process they further the reputation.

These towns are trapped by their own idiocy. Sun is still trapped in the cycle of having to ticket speeders to survive, but Abita wised up and started to tout their place in early Louisiana history. They're thriving now, and they don't have to ticket the populace to make ends meet. (In fact, if they did, they'd alienate the tourists.) Abita is no less safer because of this - the fear of God is still there, but you don't have to fear them writing you a ticket solely Because They Can (TM). A lot of these towns would start doing better if they sold themselves instead of making the drivers curse towards Baton Rouge for bypass routes.

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