CHP: No Link Between Labor Day ‘Speed Traps’, Calif. Budget Crisis

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — If you’re headed out for a road trip this Labor Day weekend, be sure to watch your speedometer or you could end up forking over your hard-earned cash to a state in desperate need of some.

Dozens of so-called “speed traps” — where multiple California Highway Patrol cars line up with one officer manning a hand-held radar gun — are littered across the Southland on any given Saturday morning, but drivers should expect even more over the upcoming holiday weekend.

CHP officer Ming Hsu told KNX 1070 officers will be enforcing speed limits at high-value locations, including near the southbound 170 Freeway at Roscoe and northbound 15 Freeway headed out of Victorville.

“We look at where all the collisions are occurring and also where the complaints are coming in for,” said Hsu.

He pointed to one popular “speed trap” near the 210 Freeway off the Osborne Road exit, where Hsu said the department gets frequent reports of speeds up to 90 MPH or more.

And despite what most of the public may believe, a officer hiding behind a bush with a radar gun is more of a deterrent than having multiple CHP units out in force, according to Hsu.

“The officers just driving around and not actually taking enforcement action, people aren’t going to slow down when they see an officer anymore,” he said .

The state’s budget crisis has also recently fueled speculation that ramped-up enforcement operations on behalf of the CHP are simply a backdoor tax to help pad California’s coffers.

But Hsu rejects the charge that the CHP is more of a revenue-generating agency than a law enforcement agency.

“The CHP and the state of California do not receive any funds from the tickets that are written,” he said. “Our budget is strictly from the motor vehicle account which is paid for by vehicle registration.”

  • Richard

    Be aware that speed traps are illegal in Cal unless there is a sign 1/4 mile before the radar that warns of speed radar checking ahead. No sign no fine. Tell the judge!

    • your mom

      While a “speed trap” is not legal, an Officer standing next to the road or parked next to the road, in plain view, shooting radar is quite legal. Posted signs or otherwise. But keep giving bad information to help people look stupid in court and lose their cases and still pay for their tickets. It;s good for a laugh.

    • Roger Wallace

      I would definitely give this a try. However, is a “speed trap” intricately defined in the CA state penal or vehicle code? I would think it might be hard to define, thereby making the argument in court futile. A cop could get on the stand and say he wasn’t set up in a speed trap, but was just taking a break.

      • A traffic cop

        Calif law specificcaly states what a speed trap is and radar is in the definition. A peed trap specifically lists timeing a vehicle over a predetermined distance. And Richard is wrong…there is no legal requirement for a sign 1/4 mile before the radar unit…..try that in court and the judge will laugh…most agencies including CHP use moving radar mounted in the car. Trust me….I’ve written thousands of traffic cites.

  • TT

    Theres an easy solution – “remove the bottom of your foot from the gas pedal “:)
    Just slow down … I kinda look at it this way – there is so much traffic on the freeways here anyway – you arent gona get anywhere any faster by wasting your gas just to catch up to the car that will ultimately be in front of you slowing you down …. I travel the 5 daily – and its the same everyday..But i do see 2 to 3 officers everyday on that same route…..Just in case you need to be reminded….

  • TT

    There is an easy solution – “remove the bottom of your foot from the gas pedal”
    Just slow down :) Going too fast just to catch up to the guy in front of you that will ultimately be in your way to slow you down anyway wont help you get there any faster…I travel the 5 freeway everyday, I get where im going in the same amount of time, whether i go faster or get stuck in bad traffic, it never seems to take much longer nor can i get there faster… But in case you need a reminder – Im sure CHP will be happy to ablige…..

  • @ traffic cop from the HOLLYWOODSAINT

    I hope the tickets you write are better than your spelling broham! :) cheers mate

  • George

    Anyone driving 90mph rightly deserves a ticket, regardless if the cop is hiding in a bush or not. If you want an example of a true SPEED TRAP, and any weekend, go to Malibu and watch the L.A. County Sheriff in action on the south bound side of PCH, just north of Webb Way. This short section of PCH is downhill as it approaches the light at Webb Way. The light at the top of the hill is Malibu Cyn.

    Unless drivers ride their brake all the way down the hill, cars will naturally drift above the posted 45 speed limit, albeit just for a few seconds, then you come to the light at Webb Way.

    The Sheriff uses this 600-foot section of PCH, often with four officers, to write tickets to drivers who are not “speeders.” They sit on their motorcycles at the shopping center driveway, and literally with every cycle of the traffic light above at Malibu Cyn, are stopping cars as fast as they can write a ticket and get back to their position.

    This is not a good use of taxpayer dollars and County resources. These deputies should be enforcing the laws where the laws are really being broken, not harassing soccer moms and average law-abiding folks, whose car happen to drift above 45 on their way down this hill on PCH.

    Someone please investigate this practice by the L.A. County Sheriff. It may not be illegal, but it sure isn’t the way I like to see a law enforcement agency behave.

    The CHP can say the money isn’t going to them, and maybe the Sheriff will say the same, but the money is going somewhere, and the Sheriff is taking a lot of money from the people who live, work or visit Malibu on a daily basis.

  • Adrian Fox

    We can learn some lessons from the Germans. The autobahns do not have any speed limit and are still safer then the freeways in most other countries. They don’t seem to be short of cash either.

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