Police visibility vs. speed traps

As another holiday (Thanksgiving) weekend begins in Canada, police in many jurisdictions are saying they will be out in force on the roads watching for drivers committing such infractions as speeding, texting, not wearing their seatbelts and, of course, driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

By being visible, police all over the world know they will deter people from violating the rules of the road, especially speeding: drivers tend to check their speed and slow down if necessary when they see a police car in the distance.

All good, yes? I’m sure police visibility contributes to a decrease in violations — and accidents and road deaths.

So why then do police on so many roads and highways — freeways in the United States — do their best to make themselves invisible, hiding out behind snowbanks or behind the pillars under overpasses etc?

Yes, I can hear you giggling now — just like my g/f did when I mentioned what I am writing about.

Sure, I know such speed traps — because that is exactly what they are — give the police an opportunity to ticket drivers and raise revenue for the government. But if they had been visible from the outset, the speeders might have been reminded to check their speed and probably would have slowed down — and there would have been no need to hand out a ticket.

When police hide out and concentrate their efforts on catching a few speeders to raise revenue, thousands of drivers are not getting what they are paying for with their licensing and car registration fees and taxes: a visible police force on the roads, and in effect, safer roads.

I think there is a double standard. Police visibility is about making the roads safe. Speeds traps are about abandoning the responsibility of visibility in order to make money.

Police visibility to deter violations should be more important than police stealth and camouflage to raise money for the government.

Happy weekend, everyone . . . and do watch yourselves on the roads.

— Jillian

4 thoughts on “Police visibility vs. speed traps

  1. Oddly enough, in our city they announce ahead of time when they’re going to do a major speed trap event. Still, they catch a lot of people.

    Some cities use phony, empty squad cars to scare people into slowing down, some use cameras to catch violators. Then there’s those lighted signs that remind you how fast you’re driving. I like those, especially since they always underestimate my speed PLUS there’s never a cop nearby!

    There’s an old axiom that a law which no one obeys is a useless law and serves to undermine respect for the law in general.


    Everyone speeds (at least a little)
    Everyone rolls through stop signs
    Everyone (with exceptions) drinks and drives (include drugs with that)
    Everyone jaywalks
    Everyone takes their dog to the park (illegally)
    Cats (and dogs) run loose
    Folks use illegal drugs
    Bicyclists NEVER obey traffic laws
    People occasionally put a pizza box in the recycle bin

    Oh, that’s just a handful off the top of my mind, but you get the idea. Mostly unenforceable laws that people don’t respect at all. Remember when certain personal sexual behavior in your own bedroom was illegal? I’ll never forget a long-ago article, “Sex and Sin in Sheboygan”, where a mother-in-law had her daughter’s husband arrested when she heard from her daughter about some bedroom antics they enjoyed!

    As to your main question, I don’t know. As a taxpayer and good driver, I applaud any effort to raise revenue while making the roads safer. But as to which method is more effective, I really don’t know.

    I survived driving cab for 13 years and I’ve seen everything out there, but still haven’t a clue as to how to convince people to drive responsibly. When you see a guy arrested for his 8th OWI (DWI), it kind of makes it all nonsensical.

    “to raise money for the government” actually means to derive funding from miscreants in order to decrease the cost of law enforcement to taxpayers who do NOT break the law (or don’t get caught). That works for me.

    But it also takes officers off the streets where real crime is occurring.

    A rare occasion: No opinion from here!


      1. Nothing that food has touched, dear. Please read your local recycling rules! Here, now, they’re working on not allowing us to throw away anything that can be composted! Here, in the city, we’re supposed to compost. OK, then what do we do with all this moldy stuff?

        Actually, we’ve gotten so good at the garbage/recycle thing that they tried to charge us extra for recyclables since it became a problem as to what to do with the recyclables! The good citizens of Madison told them where to put those recyclables…

        At the same time. OUR landfills are becoming overfilled because we IMPORT garage from out of state, for a price!

        Maybe it’s time to go back to backyard incinerators to dispose of this stuff. A little air pollution in exchange for millions of dollars to ship the garbage around and bury or burn it elsewhere in someone else’s backyard. You do realize that all of this has nothing to do with environmentalism; it’s all about profit.

        I’m done. As All-nudist.com we strive to remain non-political. But it’s SO hard sometimes!


  2. When I lived in NH, the police made the conscious and publicly-announced decision that they would go for the highly-visible form of enforcement, because their interest was in safety/getting people to slow down, and that worked better. I don’t doubt there were a few speed traps, because some folks don’t learn otherwise, but the “highly-visible” thing worked better.

    Liked by 1 person

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