Do you always take a close look for small town cops when you come to a little towns while travelling on rural highway.  Why?  If you’re wise, you’ll watch for a cop shooting radar right at the town’s entrance.  They love to use out-of-town traffic tickets as a revenue source.

Year ago, several towns in East Central had a reputation of writing tickets and they gave out-of-towners nearly zero tolerance.

Goin’ two MPH over the limit in Homer or Heaven forbid, five over in Tolono?  You’re gettin’ a ticket.  Of course, back then a ticket was $75.  Yeah, I’m dating myself.

Heck, even today, with a brief respite during the China Flu fiasco, Normal, IL had a fearsome reputation for being complete a-holes about speeding.  They’d even ticket out-of-towners in official vehicles (for instance, firefighters in marked SUVs or city vehicles from other towns) for going 2MPH over the limit.  College Ave near the ISU campus was (and remains) one of their favorite hunting grounds.

Except in May when nice weather arrives while the students are still in school.  Then they complain that traffic slows to 15mph as drivers gawk at coeds out wearing bikinis and suntanning in their yards.  After finals, enforcement begins anew.

Turns out a lot of folks didn’t know then (and don’t know now) that Illinois statutes prohibit staking out just inside the town limits, fifty or a hundred yards (if that) beyond that reduced speed 30MPH speed limit sign shooting radar and handing out tickets.

I had no idea until I read this piece over at Edgar County Watchdogs.

And frankly, this is another example where if you drive like a decent human being, a dash cam will more often than not be your silent guardian against people who misstate the truth in traffic-related issues…  doesn’t matter if it’s a “you ran that red light” or failed to rad or whatever.

From Edgar County Watchdogs…  doing what they do best…  making government live up to its own rules.

Illinois (ECWd) – As you come into a small town across the state, there is commonly a speed limit sign requiring a reduced speed. A common practice is for these small-town police to set up their radar trap just a few yards from those signs, some sitting just feet past it.

After speaking with numerous ticket recipients as well as witnessing small-town police across the state using radar within 500 feet of the speed limit sign we felt it was time to educate people on their rights and hopefully educate the police on proper operations about using electronic speed detecting devices.

What does 500 feet have to do with a speeding ticket?

“Electronic speed-detecting devices shall not be used within 500 feet beyond any such sign in the direction of travel; if so used in violation hereof, evidence obtained thereby shall be inadmissible in any prosecution for speeding.”  625 ICLS 5/11-602

The statute on this does provide an exemption to school zones provided they conform to the requirements of section 11-605 of the Act.

“However, nothing in this Section prohibits the use of such electronic speed-detecting devices within 500 feet of a sign within a special school speed zone indicating such zoneconforming to the requirements of Section 11-605 of this Act, nor shall evidence obtained thereby be inadmissible in any prosecution for speeding provided the use of such device shall apply only to the enforcement of the speed limit in such special school speed zone.”

So the next time you happen to get a ticket coming into these small communities, take note of where the police were in relation to the speed limit sign in the direction of your travel. If they were within 500 feet of that sign in the direction of travel, electronic speed-detecting devices shall not be used. The fact that they are using radar within those prohibited distances tells us the police, the very ones responsible for enforcing the law, are the ones breaking the law.

Our suggestion is to have a copy of the actual law in your vehicle along with your insurance and registration documents. If you find yourself facing such a ticket, turn on your phone and record the conversation with the police. Ask the officer how many feet past the speed limit sign they were at when he used his radar. Get the exact spot on the record by taking photos of the location. If the officer was within 500 feet of the sign and issued the ticket anyway after informing them of the law, it tells you what kind of officer you’re dealing with. At some point, you will need to measure the distance from the sign to where the officer was and then document that in an affidavit and bring it to court. A passenger makes a great witness as well.

Don’t be surprised if the prosecutor, the local State’s Attorney or even the judge is not aware of the law. I can tell you from personal experience in 1996, the assistant state’s attorney was perplexed as to why I wanted a jury trial for a speeding ticket. I explained that I had every intention of exposing the illegal use of radar by the local police who were notorious for sitting in a private driveway just feet after the speed limit sign and issuing tickets for as little as 3 mph over the limit. The prosecutor played lawyer and tried to tell me there is no such thing as illegal use of radar by police. I handed her a copy of the state statute with the key language highlighted, and let’s just say the prosecutor had that, “wow, I could have had a V8″ look. She dismissed the ticket after looking at my evidence, which included video, pictures, affidavits, and the actual law.

Yeah, you think she had a crappy look on her face?  What about the lazy cop who loves handing out tickets every day from his easy-peasy hunting spot.  Why it was almost like shooting fish in a barrel… or dogs in a kennel.

By the way, what are the worst cities for speed traps?  According to speedtrap.org, here are some bad ones:  Mound City, Peoria, Carbondale, Ullin, Joliet and River Grove

11 thoughts on “NEWS YOU CAN USE: Fighting small town speed traps”
  1. Seldom see traffic enforcement anywhere nowadays, except at crashes – but I see a lot of ALPRs as I’m entering different cities and counties – and they can be placed anywhere, even across from your voting precinct, gun shop, bar or church.

    1. No, it’s SAD how many cops do enforce laws they themselves violate without shame, as if to say, “who’s gonna stop me?” They coerce people into giving consent to search a house or vehicle as they lie to your faces telling you they have authority they don’t so they can avoid that burden to them called the 4th Amendment, they get away practically with murder thanks to qualified immunity, they have their eyes glued to their phones and swerve in the lanes, they confiscate your firearms after a self-defense situation then refuse to return YOUR property unless you sue them meaning you are victimized by the attacker then revictimized by the police agency that commits felony theft against you but of course, they’ll pull the “if something comes up” card only to find out later they sent YOUR property off for destruction without notice or compensation. On and on. I’m glad I finally woke up to what communism “Back the Blue” represents. They can take their “subject” attitude and shove it up their goddamn asses. I AM AN AMERICAN CITIZEN!!!!!!

  2. Any cop who tickets drivers for being 2 or 3 miles an hour over the speed limit is a piece of garbage that shouldn’t have a badge. That’s not public safety that’s revenue generating. BTW, most vehicles do have a margin of error in the speedometer of a mile an hour or 2 unless it’s certified calibrated like police vehicles are.

  3. It’s funny. I remember just a year or two before the pandemic when I got Infamously ban-hammered for bad-mouthing anything the cops did when you guys were deepthroating the boot and now you even publish little meaningless fluff pieces like this similarly bad-mouthing the cops. You have come nearly full circle and God bless you for it! Now how about an apology for your ban-hammering?

    Oh and by all means do maintain your present position on the evil Nazi jackboot thugs that the cops have become. When they’ve lost GSL they’ve lost everyone!

  4. Thank you.
    Like youbI am no fan of cops writing traffic tickets for anything but accident causing offenses or egregious infractions like going double the posted limit or wrong way driving. Or blatantly blowing stop signs or lights.
    And don’t Get me started on traffic cameras

  5. Some towns have a “reduced speed ahead sign”. Does the 500 feet start there or at the actual speed limit sign?

  6. Wait ’til the gov’t and insurance industry go full bore with on-board monitoring of your driving habits. Assessing you hirer insurance premiums and taxes for ALL your speed zone violations, engine hours, mileage traveled, rapid accelerations and hard braking maneuvers. They’ll just bill you thru your premiums along with your state and federal taxes. Decline to install or upgrade? They’ll just suspend your driver’s license and license plates to any of your vehicle(s) subject to compliance until you comply. And Johnny Law won’t even be there to give you a kiss.

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