Billboard Wars Over Lawtey As A "Spee...

Billboard Wars Over Lawtey As A "Speed Trap"

There are 138 comments on the First Coast News Jacksonville story from Feb 13, 2008, titled Billboard Wars Over Lawtey As A "Speed Trap". In it, First Coast News Jacksonville reports that:

Talk Back: Post a comment on this article By Kyle Meenan First Coast News LAWTEY, FL -- The AAA Road Club recently put up its third billboard on US-301 urging drivers to use caution ahead, calling the city of ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at First Coast News Jacksonville.

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“It's not about me.”

Since: Nov 07

Jacksonville

#2 Mar 10, 2008
Lawtey has been a speed trap for as long as I can remember. It is not about law enforcement, it is using the law for revenue enhancement. JSO does it as well.
been there

Saint Augustine, FL

#3 Mar 10, 2008
This is nothing new and the officers make several valid points especially the fact that there has not been a traffic fatality along that stretch of road. If they didn't enforce the speed people would fly through there like they do the rest of 301.

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#4 Mar 25, 2008
Lawtey is not a speed trap. Mainly those who have been stopped call it that. The speed limits are clearly posted. With a school campus right next to US 301, the LPD is strict with those that choose to violate the posted speed limits. You can travel through this town safely a few miles above 45 mph, which is the limit through town, yet I always observes many, many others flying through without a care. Then they always cry foul when they are stopped and ticketed. I am a member of AAA myself, and I critize them frequently for their choice in declaring a speed trap. If the people will not speed, then they will not get a ticket, it is just plain and simple.
wary of them

Jacksonville, FL

#5 Mar 25, 2008
I wouldn't stop off in Lawtey to buy a pack of cigarettes, gas, a soda or even a stick of gum. If they want to derive their major source of income off of passing motorists then that's all they should get. Wasn't Bologne de-chartered for that very same thing a number of years ago?
Suzan

Mission Viejo, CA

#6 Aug 14, 2008
Lawtey IS a speed trap. It isn't a matter of enforcement of a posted speed. We were driving right at 45 MPH (in the 45 MPH zone) but officer doofus said we were going 55 MPG. No way! Unless he was aiming is radar way ahead of the posted 45 mph. Nothing stops these dopes from targeting out of state cars. I have absolutely no problem with giving tickets to speeders - read that SPEEDERS -- but these yokels are ticketing people even if they are not speeding. They just make up whatever they want to do. Did he ask for car registration? NO Just what year is this car and where's your drivers license. Do out of state people come back to fight the tickets. NO first, they would probably get another ticket driving to court and second, it wouldn't do any good. The sad fact is that when you get one of these highway robbery tickets, not only do you have to pay a ticket in excess of $180 (ten miles over), your record gets points and your insurance will go up!!!!! This just isn't fair and I do not understand why the Florida Attorney General's office doesn't do something about this. I can't believe the Florida legislature isn't capable of passing a law concerning these notorious speed traps. This was the first speeding ticket in over 40 years and considering we travel over 50,000 miles a year that shows a good driving record. SHAME on Lawtey and its crooked officers and SHAME on Lawtey for giving Florida a black eye. I am sorry for the businesses who will now be loosing our business as we drive to our home in Tampa for the winter months. We will never drive through there again!

Since: Aug 08

Los Angeles, CA

#7 Aug 14, 2008
guyinlawtey wrote:
Lawtey is not a speed trap. Mainly those who have been stopped call it that. The speed limits are clearly posted. With a school campus right next to US 301, the LPD is strict with those that choose to violate the posted speed limits. You can travel through this town safely a few miles above 45 mph, which is the limit through town, yet I always observes many, many others flying through without a care. Then they always cry foul when they are stopped and ticketed. I am a member of AAA myself, and I critize them frequently for their choice in declaring a speed trap. If the people will not speed, then they will not get a ticket, it is just plain and simple.
Dude - when the lion share of your city's revenue comes from speeding tickets - it's a speed trap. That's how we've all come to that conclusion. It is common knowledge. Please. It is also common knowledge that you CANNOT travel through that town a few miles over the speed limit. People are being ticketed for going as little as 5 mph over.

Since: Aug 08

Los Angeles, CA

#8 Aug 14, 2008
Suzan wrote:
Lawtey IS a speed trap. It isn't a matter of enforcement of a posted speed. We were driving right at 45 MPH (in the 45 MPH zone) but officer doofus said we were going 55 MPG. No way! Unless he was aiming is radar way ahead of the posted 45 mph. Nothing stops these dopes from targeting out of state cars. I have absolutely no problem with giving tickets to speeders - read that SPEEDERS -- but these yokels are ticketing people even if they are not speeding. They just make up whatever they want to do. Did he ask for car registration? NO Just what year is this car and where's your drivers license. Do out of state people come back to fight the tickets. NO first, they would probably get another ticket driving to court and second, it wouldn't do any good. The sad fact is that when you get one of these highway robbery tickets, not only do you have to pay a ticket in excess of $180 (ten miles over), your record gets points and your insurance will go up!!!!! This just isn't fair and I do not understand why the Florida Attorney General's office doesn't do something about this. I can't believe the Florida legislature isn't capable of passing a law concerning these notorious speed traps. This was the first speeding ticket in over 40 years and considering we travel over 50,000 miles a year that shows a good driving record. SHAME on Lawtey and its crooked officers and SHAME on Lawtey for giving Florida a black eye. I am sorry for the businesses who will now be loosing our business as we drive to our home in Tampa for the winter months. We will never drive through there again!
I'm sorry about your experience. We understand. And although it won't make you feel better, Florida residents are being cited too.
Suzan

Mission Viejo, CA

#9 Aug 14, 2008
Julianna_ wrote:
<quoted text>
Dude - when the lion share of your city's revenue comes from speeding tickets - it's a speed trap. That's how we've all come to that conclusion. It is common knowledge. Please. It is also common knowledge that you CANNOT travel through that town a few miles over the speed limit. People are being ticketed for going as little as 5 mph over.
You don't have to speed to get a ticket! You can still get a ticket for going EXACTLY the speed limit. Don't you get it -- these yokel officers LIE!!! Anything to get their quota. Anything to increase the revenue for Lawtey. If you have out of state tags, watch out. Wouldn't it be interesting to see how many Lawtey residents, or Florida residents, get tickets and how many out of state people get tickets?

Since: Aug 08

United States

#11 Aug 15, 2008
Suzan wrote:
<quoted text>
You don't have to speed to get a ticket! You can still get a ticket for going EXACTLY the speed limit. Don't you get it -- these yokel officers LIE!!! Anything to get their quota. Anything to increase the revenue for Lawtey. If you have out of state tags, watch out. Wouldn't it be interesting to see how many Lawtey residents, or Florida residents, get tickets and how many out of state people get tickets?
Oh, I get it. I'm not doubting what you're saying. Policing and fundraising are two different things. It would appear law enforcement in this area are more interested in the latter.
Resident

Jacksonville, FL

#12 Aug 15, 2008
Do what the rest of us do.

In Lawtey and Waldo we drive 5 mph UNDER the speed limit.

“Nuff Said!”

Since: May 08

Branford, Fl

#13 Aug 15, 2008
Suzan wrote:
<quoted text>
You don't have to speed to get a ticket! You can still get a ticket for going EXACTLY the speed limit. Don't you get it -- these yokel officers LIE!!! Anything to get their quota. Anything to increase the revenue for Lawtey. If you have out of state tags, watch out. Wouldn't it be interesting to see how many Lawtey residents, or Florida residents, get tickets and how many out of state people get tickets?
Even though I know that you will still piss and moan I will set the record straight here. Just as many Florida people and quite a few locals do get tickets in Lawtey. There is no Quota to write tickets. The Billboards are there cause of people like your self that were doing exactly the speed limit and then wanted to whine they were unjustly targeted. If you have a home in Tampa why not drive the 2 hours back up here and take it to Court after all that is your right. 86.5% of the out of state travelers that pass thru Lawtey do not stop at the locals stores anyway. The AAA can put up Billboards every 1/4 mile on US 301 both North and South of Lawtey and the tickets will still continue and why you ask. It is really simple because you must be driving the bare minimum of 8 miles and hour over the posted 45 miles an hour for the City of Lawtey to stop you. If you do not believe it the by all means just call City Hall. You can get the number from the website at,
www.lawtey-fl.com/
Suzan

Mission Viejo, CA

#14 Aug 15, 2008
Joe Durt wrote:
<quoted text>Even though I know that you will still piss and moan I will set the record straight here. Just as many Florida people and quite a few locals do get tickets in Lawtey. There is no Quota to write tickets. The Billboards are there cause of people like your self that were doing exactly the speed limit and then wanted to whine they were unjustly targeted. If you have a home in Tampa why not drive the 2 hours back up here and take it to Court after all that is your right. 86.5% of the out of state travelers that pass thru Lawtey do not stop at the locals stores anyway. The AAA can put up Billboards every 1/4 mile on US 301 both North and South of Lawtey and the tickets will still continue and why you ask. It is really simple because you must be driving the bare minimum of 8 miles and hour over the posted 45 miles an hour for the City of Lawtey to stop you. If you do not believe it the by all means just call City Hall. You can get the number from the website at,
www.lawtey-fl.com/
Why should we get a ticket for going the speed limit???
The Billboards are there cause of people like your self that were doing exactly the speed limit and then wanted to whine they were unjustly targeted
Why should the officer lie and say we were going 55 when we were going 45??? We live in Tampa in the winter and up north during the summer months. BUT it doesn't matter where you live if you get a ticket in a town that is corrupt. When your driving record doesn't reflect any speeding violations in over 40 years that should say something, especially when we drive as many miles in a year as we do.
Others who have protested the ticket had their fines increased. Do you really think a judge in Lawtey is going to be fair? Not from what my research indicates. The Florida legislature even passed a law prohibiting these speed trap areas from ticketing speeders who were doing 1, 2, 3, 4, miles over. So how do the local police get around it -- they lie by saying you were going 10 over. I respect your right to disagree with me, but I find it hard to understand how you can defend such an unfair practice. Not only is this going to cost us the fine, but points will go on the license and our insurance rates will go up for at least 3 years. So, considering the fact that we were NOT speeding do you really consider this fair? Also, to set the record straight, we drive 13 hours from our home here to Florida and when we do, we usually need a break when we get to 301. That usually includes an antiquing stop, time to stretch our legs, get a bite to eat and gas up. I do believe you when you say you are supposed to be going a certain amount over to be stopped and ticketed. But, believe me please -- this officer lied. Read all the other threads concerning this practice. Do you really believe all those who are complaining about the Lawtey PD are fabricating their experiences? I don't. However, you might be the officer who stopped us yesterday.

Since: Aug 08

Los Angeles, CA

#15 Aug 15, 2008
Suzan wrote:
<quoted text>
Why should we get a ticket for going the speed limit???
The Billboards are there cause of people like your self that were doing exactly the speed limit and then wanted to whine they were unjustly targeted
Why should the officer lie and say we were going 55 when we were going 45??? We live in Tampa in the winter and up north during the summer months. BUT it doesn't matter where you live if you get a ticket in a town that is corrupt. When your driving record doesn't reflect any speeding violations in over 40 years that should say something, especially when we drive as many miles in a year as we do.
Others who have protested the ticket had their fines increased. Do you really think a judge in Lawtey is going to be fair? Not from what my research indicates. The Florida legislature even passed a law prohibiting these speed trap areas from ticketing speeders who were doing 1, 2, 3, 4, miles over. So how do the local police get around it -- they lie by saying you were going 10 over. I respect your right to disagree with me, but I find it hard to understand how you can defend such an unfair practice. Not only is this going to cost us the fine, but points will go on the license and our insurance rates will go up for at least 3 years. So, considering the fact that we were NOT speeding do you really consider this fair? Also, to set the record straight, we drive 13 hours from our home here to Florida and when we do, we usually need a break when we get to 301. That usually includes an antiquing stop, time to stretch our legs, get a bite to eat and gas up. I do believe you when you say you are supposed to be going a certain amount over to be stopped and ticketed. But, believe me please -- this officer lied. Read all the other threads concerning this practice. Do you really believe all those who are complaining about the Lawtey PD are fabricating their experiences? I don't. However, you might be the officer who stopped us yesterday.
I don't think he is saying it is fair. I understood him to say, just as I did, that you are not the only one targeted. I don't think they target only out-of-state drivers. They catch nearly everyone who drives through the area. And, yes, I think they are over-the-top with their ticketing. Take advantage of the fact that you are now aware of this, and take another route (which I do, if possible) or drives extra slow. It stinks, I know.
Suzan

Mission Viejo, CA

#16 Aug 15, 2008
We just bought our place in Florida last November and have driven down 4 times since then, including this week. We have always going down 301 and always wondered who put the billboards up. Since my husband has a long career scraping up the blood and guts that often result from speeding, etc. we are especially conscious about NOT speeding. We will definitely take a longer route to get to Tampa and will not tempt the fates by driving down 301 again. I don't trust the practice of going 5 miles under and if we went r e a l slow, we would probably get a ticket for impeding the flow of traffic. After all, if they say you are going 10 over when you are going exactly the speed limit, then what is to say that they won't lie and say you are speeding if you are going under? We have been in Miami for 11 years and, believe it or not, never had any driving problems there but, there is so much traffic you can't speed (HA!)
Julianna_ wrote:
<quoted text>
I don't think he is saying it is fair. I understood him to say, just as I did, that you are not the only one targeted. I don't think they target only out-of-state drivers. They catch nearly everyone who drives through the area. And, yes, I think they are over-the-top with their ticketing. Take advantage of the fact that you are now aware of this, and take another route (which I do, if possible) or drives extra slow. It stinks, I know.
Crooked

Trenton, NJ

#17 Aug 23, 2008
I was driving a rental car in Lawtey following the speed limit. A car flew past me in the left lane, the cop comes out follows the car in the left lane for a couple minutes then falls back into the right lane and gives me a ticket. Obviously seeing the out of state plate, he didnt even ask for registration just a $163 fine, Just starting to read the rest of these similiar stories on the internet. These cops are just crooked.
Suzan

United States

#18 Aug 26, 2008
Crooked -- you bet. It makes my blood boil when I think of a perfect driving record being blemished by a lying, crooked thief. If someone had approached us with a gun and said give me your money we would have recourse. Against these highway robbers, we have no recourse. Just pay the fine and continue to "whine" about injustice.
Suzan

United States

#19 Aug 27, 2008
Scam -- part 2
Take the Driving Safety Course and you won't get points -- DON'T BELIEVE IT!!!!
1. True you won't get points in Florida, your ticket will be adjudicated as 0 points. However, check with the state where your license was issued.
2. In our state (which isn't Maryland and I don't know why that is coming up) our driving safety course is 8 hours long. Florida's is 4 hours long and our jurisdiction doesn't recognize it. When Florida puts your license number in the computer and inputs the "0" points they still put in that you got a ticket for speeding 10 miles over and we get points assessed anyway. So, why get your ticket reduced by $11, pay $30 to take the course and STILL get points added in your home state. AND ALL OF THIS IN A SPEED TRAP AND YOU WERE NOT SPEEDING BUT WERE GOING UNDER THE SPEED LIMIT!!!
3. Insurance companies don't just look at points but look at any moving violations (points issued or not) so if the information is entered under your license it will still show a moving violation and the insurance companies CAN increase your rates.
4. In our state you can take the driving safety course (8 hours) and get back 5+ good driving points and insurance companies do recognize that as a factor in whether or not to increase rates.

ADVICE:
1. Stay off route 301
2. If (or when) you get a ticket, pay it, write a letter to every Florida official you can think of to have them look into the corrupt practices in Bradford County and warn everyone you know who winters in Florida to avoid route 301 and DO NOT spend any money in Bradford County. Perhaps the businesses there will try to take steps to clean this county up. We always liked to stop there and antique, grab a quick lunch, fill up with gas and leisurly head to Tampa. Now, we will take a longer route and hopefully a cheaper route.
NotAddingUp

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

#21 Aug 27, 2008
I am another example of being targeted by those crooks, I was doing 5 miles under the speed limit and got a ticket and yes I had a out of state tag. I have just moved to Florida in 2001. I went back after receiving my Florida tag doing 45 and NO ticket but 2 weeks before when I still had my out of state tag.. bingo. Waldo and Lawty is the most crooked place besides Grady Arkansaw where the real life Barny Fife lives.

“"Try Some" ”

Since: Aug 08

Lawtey, Fl

#22 Aug 27, 2008
Either take it to Court and fight it or lay down and shut up about it.
Suzan

United States

#23 Aug 27, 2008
FreeSample wrote:
Either take it to Court and fight it or lay down and shut up about it.
In what fantasy land do you think anyone would get a fair hearing before a court in Lawtey? The tickets clearly state that a contested ticket could increase to $500 if you loose your case.
1. How do you "prove" that the officer's "radar" reading wasn't correct?
2. How do you "prove" that the officer aimed the radar into the 55 MPH zone, went after you in the 55 MPH zone, pulled you over in the 45 MPH zone and charged you with 55 in a 45?
3. How do you "prove" your innocence? The legal system we are supposed to have in this country is innocent until proven guilty. In Lawtey and Waldo you are guilty no matter what you are doing or no matter what you say, especially if you are driving a car with an out of state tag.
I am very sorry that you feel it necessary to defend the corrupt practices in Lawtey, but your taxes are lower there thanks to the police and the money it generates ticketing people who are not speeding or violating any laws. In the long run the businesses along rt 301 are hurt and I do feel sorry for those honest hard-working people who are trying to make a living for themselves and their families. However, I can't risk another visit to either Waldo (great antiques) or to Lawtey so I will have to drive another route and spend my money elsewhere. Oh -- Shut up about it -- I don't think so. I will shout it to the rooftops and spread the word any way I can to other folks like us who winter in Florida (and have done so for 12 years) I will spread it around all the areas where snowbirds spend thousands of dollars each year that they should avoid Lawtey and Waldo. Believe it or not, there are plenty of places in Florida that embrace the snowbirds and welcome us and our money. We have no choice but to pay the ticket, but we do have a choice and an obligation to do what we can to try to slow down the highway robbery!

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