The Biggest Speed-Trap Cities in North Texas

Categories: Transportation

DallasCopRadarGun.jpg
Flickr user Phillip Winn
Maybe the street was deserted and you decided to open up the throttle. Maybe a tree branch was blocking the flashing school zone sign, or you didn't notice the cop as you rolled through the stop sign.

Whatever the particulars of the situation, practically every driver knows the flush of shame -- and the paroxysm of rage at the cosmic unfairness of traffic enforcement, and the gut-punch of watching a couple hundred dollars disappear from your account -- that come with a traffic ticket.

Those who regularly travel in Southlake or Hurst, or through any number of smaller burgs like Northlake and Pantego, know better than most. Those places top Unfair Park's authoritative list of North Texas' top speed traps.

Our methodology was simple. We gathered traffic citation data from every city in Dallas, Denton, Collin, and Tarrant counties from Texas' Office of Court Administration, which compiles statistics on municipal court cases. McKinney's tally we had to get from the city. We're still waiting for Fort Worth to get back with us, which is why it's not listed.

See also: Dallas Cops Are Writing Half as Many Tickets as They Did Five Years Ago

Then we divided that number by the city's population to get the number of traffic tickets written per capita. Cities with more than 15,000 people are in one list, those with fewer in another, because there's no way Dallas, with 1.2 million people, could match tiny Northlake's torrid 3.42-tickets-per-person pace.

We didn't account for the volume of traffic in any given town, the size of the police force, the presence of red-light cameras, or any number of other variables that could inform the results. Nevertheless, it offers a glimpse of how aggressively towns approach traffic enforcement.

For larger cities, Southlake leads the pack with .73 tickets written per resident, followed by Hurst, Haltom City, Farmers Branch and Euless. Here's the full list:

SpeedTrapTable1.jpg

Head over the page to see the stats for smaller cities in NTX, including one that's issuing 3.43 tickets per resident!


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63 comments
warrenpaulharris
warrenpaulharris

And this doesn't include crazy tickets like the one I got in Southlake for being parked facing the wrong direction.  On a Sunday.  In an area used only by vendors for their Oktoberfest (we were vendors).

$111.00.

Southlake is like some one-light hick town in rural Tennessee with one cop, a radar gun and a speed limit that goes abruptly from 65 to 25 at the town limit.

russ.linton
russ.linton

This does not include Red Light Camera citations. Yes, Denton hands out around 30k traffic citations per year and ANOTHER 16k in red light camera tickets ALONE. Total scam. Everyone needs to fight these.

Jerry
Jerry

I am interested in gathering some data on the number of citations issued in Southlake. It would be great to see the number of warnings issued for Southlake residents, versus non-residents; and then compare that to data showing the number of citations issued for residents versus non-residents.  Southlake PD loves to set up speed traps at the edges of the city limits hoping to catch people leaving or entering the city.  Rarely do you see cars set up in the center of the city.  Low violent crime rate, agree, but maybe they need to check into the Cocaine/Prescription Drug/Heroin problem at the high school.  Worse than any school in the area.

DirtyP1
DirtyP1

"Mylett is quick to stress that, while Southlake may issue a high number of tickets relative to the population, "officers have tremendous discretion" and that the number of drivers who get off with a warning is "at an all-time high.""


So I'm wondering how many of those warnings are issued to drivers that are residents in the area versus other areas? Ah, so much data to crunch. 

dpd817
dpd817

Don't be fooled by incomplete information. That report failed to mention TXDOT's traffic flow numbers for those cities, just populations. If your gonna report it. Report it right......

nd68
nd68

First ones that came to mind when I saw the headline were Richardson, FB, and Carrollton. Good to see they are all in the top 10.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

The best part of this article is that the tables are graphics, meaning they aren't searchable, so you can't readily find a particular town on there, and the actual data itself will never make it onto google or another search engine.

MargaretHuntHill
MargaretHuntHill

From the standpoint of a trap, it would be more interesting to know the number of non-resident tickets written.  If a place like Krum, for instance, is writing school zone tickets to locals to protect kids, that doesn't really make it a trap.  But 2 of the most notorious, Red Oak on I-35 and Fairview on 75, aren't on your list.  I would guess that those two ticket a large number of non-residents compared to their populations.

NewsDog
NewsDog

I find it funny and ironic that Anna had one of the lowest rates. In the 80s and early 90s they were notorious as one of the worst speed traps in the state. Raked in hundreds of thousands. But after the Legislature enacted a speed trap law they were bankrupt within a few years.  

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Where does Westlake fall in on this.  Its a small town with a couple of large businesses.  When I worked out there some days Keller cops were writing tickets others it was Southlake.  And they wrote lots. always parked at the exits of the parking lots pulling over expired regs and inspections weekly


observist
observist topcommenter

Interesting that Highland Park is near the top 1.25 tickets/capita, but University Park is near the bottom with 0.12.   That tells me if I'm driving from the Central to the Tollway, I'm much better off taking Lovers instead of Mockingbird.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

A friend got a speeding ticket in Webster, a suburb of Houston.  He was 11 miles over the posted limit.

The fine was $1,100.  He fought it and lost.

Now, this is anecdotal but he claimed that there is no state limit on what municipalities can charge for speeding tickets.  I do not know but he said Webster charges $100 per mile over the posted limit.  And there is no grace.

I wonder who charges the most per mile and is there, in fact, no state guideline or reg covering what the fine can be?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Eric, while I applaud your attempt to normalize the data, the most accurate normalizing factor would be per 100,000 vehicle miles.  this would compensate for items such as TX114 going through Southlake and Northlake.


Another interesting correlation would be to take the accident rate and see what the relationship is between ticketing rates and accident rates.  Is it linear or inverse?


Of course, if you are to drive within the speed limits and commit no other infractions, you won't get ticketed

JSSS
JSSS

It would be interesting to see how many of those tickets are given to residents of the same city as the issuing PD versus non-residents.  Yes, I am looking at you Farmers Branch!

JohnSmallBerries
JohnSmallBerries

A good lesson in bad statistics. Traffic or even land area is not proportionate to population. Pantego gives a ticket out (with rounding) every 3900 seconds but Carrollton gives one out approximately every 690 seconds even at a 10 times per person difference approx. 

If Carrollton was to even get up to the rate of Highland Park it would require they give one out every 3 minutes 20 seconds CONTINUOUSLY without pause as opposed to the 11.5 minutes per ticket they do now.

grarar
grarar

That's kind of misleading.  Many of those like Irving, HEB, Farmers Branch and Grapevine are pass-through cities where you have a disproportionate amount of traffic versus the actual number of residents.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

And once again, this is why I don't go to the suburbs.

380guide
380guide

@russ.linton  I was going to forward tis to you- then I found your post!  I would like to see this article revised with the Red Light Camera included!

fracquestions
fracquestions

@everlastingphelps 

Stand your ground, phelps! This is a really super critically important issue! Now that you completely lost the frac'ing debate you need another dead horse to beat.

AdamsonScott
AdamsonScott

@MargaretHuntHill Of course a "school zone" is a speed trap - it's an arbitrary decrease (sometimes *huge*) in the speed limit for a very short expanse of roadway, just because the government says so.

HeywoodUBuzzoff
HeywoodUBuzzoff

@ScottsMerkin Westlake, Trophy Club, Keller & Southlake trade off on the stretch of 114 between Southlake Towne Centre and the 170/114 split.  Big money and lots of targets of opportunity.

Zipzipbang
Zipzipbang

Guess again. Lovers is a HUGE speed trap for UP, specifically in front of the Petco, the elementary school & the church parking lot Btwn Hillcrest & Boedecker. And a traffic ticket attorney won't go to court in UP because it's worse for their client if they do. Attorney's will tell you to pay the fine and move on if you get tagged in UP.

Wilson
Wilson

@observist THAT's your reason? Not that Mockingbird is always a huge congested mess?

JohnSmallBerries
JohnSmallBerries

In fact, let's look at the converse of what I said. What if Highland Park got down to the level of Carrollton? They would be giving out a ticket every 2 hours 40 minutes! 

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@grarar Does that also not suggest, what we all know, that these "cities" write tickets not for safety reasons but for financial reasons because their population is too small to support their city government?

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

@grarar  Are you actually expecting rigorous and well thought out statistical analysis from Eric Nicholson?

warrenpaulharris
warrenpaulharris

@AdamsonScott @MargaretHuntHill Which is doing the children a great disservice.  If school zones were 50mph, the smart ones would survive and the gene pool would need less chlorine.


On a more serious note...


Having a school zone of 20mph RIGIDLY enforced for minor variances means drivers are looking down at their speedometers rather than up where pedestrians are likely to be.  It's stupid.

rebel1011
rebel1011

@AdamsonScott@MargaretHuntHill

Many,many years ago I hit a small child in a school zone. Not my fault because he rode his bike in front of my vehicle. Thank God I was going the school speed limit. He ended up with just a few scratches because I was.I never mind going the school speed limit.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@AdamsonScott @MargaretHuntHill 

Not to mention the fact that it's a good idea to slow down in areas where lots and lots of children (notorious for impulsive behavior) happen to congregate.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@AdamsonScott @MargaretHuntHill There is nothing arbitrary about reducing the speed near a school during the times in which children arrive and leave.  That's the exact opposite of arbitrary.

Ricky_Hollywood
Ricky_Hollywood

@JohnSmallBerries Good job.  I would also like to know the number of officers that issued the citations.  Did one cop or 15 account for the number of tickets?  The only thing this "list" is good for is knowing how many tickets a city wrote.

grarar
grarar

@P1Gunter @grarar  No. They write tickets because more people speed through Irving than say Wylie.  If you sit on 183 or 121, you could catch speeders all day.  I don't think they're making up tickets.  People speed.  When I speed going to work, I'm more likely to get one passing through Irving than around my town getting to the freeway.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@tgtg999@P1Gunter I would be happy to. Enjoy your chain restaurants and big box stores. Maybe you will get a Potbelly this year! Or a new Wal-Mart, man that would be awesome!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Wilson seriously?  school zones are only located by schools, where children will cross the street.  So what if school isnt out for 5 more minutes and you passed through when no one was there, does it hurt to drive the speed limit that bad? 

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @HeywoodUBuzzoff They live off of the high number of worker bees commuting in and out of the area every day. If you work out there you learn quickly or you get multiple tickets.


DirtyP1
DirtyP1

@P1Gunter @oractheiii  @ScottsMerkinyou're equating location of independents in relation to population density. In my 'burb neighorhood, we have more independents than chains, I mean, if you're not eating at the Starbucks that is. It's ok brah, you go do your thing. 

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@oractheiii@P1Gunter Sure we have them. But we have tons of independents as well unlike the suburbs. We have entire neighborhoods based around independent businesses. Not one or two in a strip center.

observist
observist topcommenter

@P1Gunter@tgtg999 I live in East Dallas and am happy that we're finally getting some chains like Liberty Burger and Chipotle.  When I want good Asian, I have to bring it in from the suburbs where I work.

JohnSmallBerries
JohnSmallBerries

@P1Gunter @tgtg999 That's funny. When I want to go to chain restaurants and big box stores (Wal-Mart, Best Buy, PotBelly, Starbucks), I leave my alleged "suburb" and go to Dallas.

oractheiii
oractheiii

@P1Gunter- I dont get it, you have chain restaurants, bigbox stores and walmarts all over the place. Where you stay at partner? The ranch

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