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More Doughnut Taxers, This Time From Texas: Even if the speed limit sign is wrong, so still are you

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From John R. Lotts Blog:

When is a speed trap not a speed trap?

The Texas Department of Transportation has a little mess on its hands. This is a small stretch of highway where the wrong speed limit was posted. Apparently, one sign along the route had a different speed limit posted.

TXDOT knew it was wrong. In June 2008, they put the wrong sign up. The 40mph sign should be 50mph sign. TXDOT told crews to fix it in August, but even with the help of photos and fancy word balloons, the road crew couldn’t figure it out.

It was still there, still wrong, when this ticket was written in May 2009, over 10 months later. While TXDOT apologizes, they say their mistake doesn’t really matter.

“Whatever the speed limit is posted is what drivers should follow. Even if it’s wrong,” said Baker.

Wow. I wasn’t really sure if I got that, so I asked again and sure enough TXDOT says even if they get it wrong, twice, they aren’t really wrong.

“The speed limit is what is posted along the roadway. It doesn’t matter if it’s the correct speed limit or incorrect speed limit,” said Baker.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office agrees with TXDOT that, wrong sign or not, the cops are right.

“Those officers on the street go by what is posted,” said Lt. Dan Norris of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Not to be deterred, Gadus unearthed records showing at least 600 tickets were written in the area of the wrong sign, maybe as many as 1500. For Gadus, a 30-year veteran cop by the way, that’s way too many. Unless officers had a sinister motive.

“It looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a speed trap,” said Gadus.

When asked about a possible speed trap, Lt. Norris replied, “No, not at all.”

For all his work, a judge recently dismissed Gadus’ wife’s ticket. Now he’s worried about the hundreds of other people who got tickets in the same place, but paid the fine because they never saw what he saw. . . .

H/T and credit to John R. Lott.

Thank you for reading this blog.

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Written by James Lagnese

July 18, 2009 at 2:26 pm