The Motor City's Backyard Is Worst For Speed Traps

Welcome to Detroit. Land at the airport, and get a ticket.

If you fly into the Motor City, be careful when you leave the airport in a rental car.

Livonia, Michigan, a city that is located just north of Detroit Metro Airport, is the worst town in the U.S. for speed traps, snagging motorists with hefty speeding fines.

Livonia tops a list of American and Canadian cities with the highest number of reported speed trap locations over the last two years.

The list was released by the National Motorists Association, a self-financed organization that advocates higher speed limits and more transparency in traffic courts, among other issues. In the organization's survey, motorists were invited to submit sightings of speed traps - defined by the association as areas "characterized by arbitrarily low speed limits and heavy traffic enforcement" - on the National Speed Trap Exchange Web site.

Livonia, about a half-hour west of Detroit, topped the list at 27.9 speed traps reported per 100,000 residents. Windsor, Ontario, literally across the Detroit River from General Motors' headquarters, came in a distant second at 17.6, followed by Orlando, Fla., with 17.2. Rounding out the list of 25 cities was New York, at 0.9.

According to The New York Times, quoting the Livonia police department, many of the posted complaints concerned a stretch of Levan Road between Five Mile and Six Mile Roads, where the posted speed limit is 25 MPH. "It's a residential street that's straight through and people use it as a cut-through rather than sticking to main thoroughfares, and they speed through there," they said.

The association looked at all the new reported locations of traps since Sept. 1, 2009, isolated the top 25 cities and ranked them per capita. Motorists' comments were included with each listing.

Livonia's police department told the Times that ticket fines go into the city's general fund, not the police department's budget, suggesting their is no revenue incentive for police to write an excess number of tickets. But there is no denying that if police are contributing more and more money to a city's general fund, the department is much less likely to see job cuts in bad times.

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