Is The Worst Speed Trap in the Country In Waldo, Florida?
It is a speed trap so notorious that the Automobile Association of America (AAA) named it one of only two “traffic traps” in the entire country. In fact, AAA was so incensed by the speed trap in the little town of Waldo, which sits on the junction of Highway 301 and 24 between Jacksonville and Gainesville, Florida, that it actually erected a billboard outside the town, warning residents to slow down before entering. If you are driving through Waldo, you should be advised that the speed limit changes six times along the short stretch of highway that runs through the city.
Is it a speed trap? You can be the judge: in 2013 seven Waldo officers issued 11,603 traffic citations. Now compare that with the much larger city of Gainesville to the southwest: it has a police force of 300 officers that issued 25,461 tickets. The average number of tickets issued per police officer in Waldo in 2013 was 1,657 citations (or about 32 tickets issued per day overall). The average number of citations issued per officer in Gainesville worked out to about 85 tickets in 2013.
About half of Waldo’s city budget comes from revenues from “court fines” from the tickets its tiny police force issues.
Now scandal has erupted in Waldo. The police chief was suspended in August for alleged improprieties in the way officers have been writing tickets. Then a group of officers claimed that the suspended chief had ordered them to write at least 12 tickets for each 12-hour shift or face repercussions. Demanding such quotas is against the law in Florida.
Waldo is not responsible for setting speed limits; that is the job of the Florida Department of Transportation. However, a spokesman for DOT said that the city did have input as to what the speed limits should be through its boundaries.
In response to the negative publicity and ongoing scandal, the city has said that it is now looking for a “level speed limit from one boundary to the other.”
Do you believe that you have been issued a citation that is unfair and unjust? The criminal defense attorneys at Farah & Farah in Gainesville can help. Call us at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online so we can have a discussion about your case today.