Local governments are allowed to establish speed traps.
Some parts of Florida are famous for their speed traps. One example is the stretch from Lawtey to Waldo, where motorists on U.S. Highway 301 are advised to drive the speed limit because local law enforcement is keeping an eye on you. For many, speed traps bring up the concern of legality, but the fact is that many cities and townships use speed traps to bring a troublesome area back into shape or to maintain a sense of order and safety. Besides, the officer with a radar gun is not forcing you to drive over the limit, he is simply citing you for doing so of your own free will.
Legality of Speed Traps
The most common argument used to try and beat a speeding ticket is that a speed trap is a form of entrapment, when the truth is that the trap is meant to be a deterrent. When a driver notices that cars are being stopped for speeding, that person becomes more conscious of his own driving behavior, and this helps to reduce speeding in general. Florida law even provides specific instances when setting up a speed trap could be beneficial to the community.
School zones are typically half the normal posted speed, or less. These zones are established for the safety of children, and are active during the period of the day when kids are going to and from school. Florida municipalities set up speed traps in these areas to reduce school zone violations and help keep children safer. Additionally, this type of zone generates funding that can be put back into protecting the population, including sponsoring programs in the schools that the speed traps are protecting.
State Patrol Speed Traps
The Florida Highway Patrol uses statistical figures to show where drivers are exceeding the speed limit. When a problem emerges, the FHP may set up a speed trap in the area for one to seven days, aggressively ticketing speeders in the area. The state patrol is authorized to set up such a speed trap on any state road or national highway, whether it is within a city limit or not. These traps are used to bring a problem area back into the recognized safety range, and are intended to be temporary in nature.
Local Speed Zones
Within a municipality, local law enforcement has the authority to set up temporary or permanent speed traps. This is done to help the resident population stay safe and to generate income for the community through ticketing out-of-town drivers who do not obey the posted speed limits. Waldo, Florida may be the most famous speed trap in the country, and is proud of the fact that a large percentage of its enforcement income is derived from out-of-state visitors.