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Group says South Carolina tops in speed traps

A national motorists' advocacy group said South Carolina has the most speed traps in the nation, all in the name of making money off of traffic citations. According to the group, South Carolina had 50 speed traps for every 100,000 residents.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol, however, disputes that it sends more officers to certain areas just to write tickets. Instead, officials from the Highway Patrol said when they send extra officers to an area, they do so to better serve motorists, not slap them with a moving violation.

Extra officers hit the streets to monitor an area if statistics show hazards exist for motorists. An increase in the number of accidents, for instance, would trigger an increase in patrols, according to one department official.

A road prone to accidents, for instance, requires a greater law-enforcement presence to help reduce the number of accidents and fatalities, the official said.

Some South Carolina residents, however, said they have seen areas with too much enforcement. One man, for instance, said he recently saw 10 or 12 Highway Patrol officers on a four-mile stretch of Interstate 85. He said he appreciates that they have a job to do, but that number of officers is excessive.

Another man said he does not believe safety is the reason for greater patrols. He believes it's simply for financial gain that more officers fan out across the state highways. The more tickets officers write the more money the state will bring in. He said officers should reserve pulling over drivers for those who drive at a speed that could cause harm to others.

Not dissuaded by their critics, officers in South Carolina said greater enforcement has been a success this summer. The state's summer campaign to reduce traffic fatalities resulted in 33 fewer deaths than in 2011.

The majority of drivers who are pulled over for a traffic violation simply pay their fine and never go to court. However, the trouble with a citation doesn't just end with a lighter wallet. Many motorists do not realize that they are also charged points against their driving record that could eventually lead to a loss of license. Enlisting the help of a criminal defense attorney can help avoid some potentially costly repercussions.

Source: Fox Carolina, "SC ranks as top state for speed traps," Nikki Davidson, Sept. 1, 2012

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