Palm Beach News

Speed Trap Near FAU Is One of the Most Notorious

Spanish River Boulevard is one of the main traffic arteries for students and faculty traveling to Florida Atlantic University. According to a report released by Cheap Car Insurance, it’s also the site of one of Florida’s most complained-about speed traps. Boca Raton Police lie in wait to ticket drivers at the overpass where the boulevard meets Interstate 95.

This is how it works: The speed limit on much of Spanish River Boulevard is 40 mph. But for a short stretch where the road rises onto a bridge that stretches over I-95, the speed limit is only 30 mph. According to the National Motorists Association (or NMA, a group that was founded in the 1980s to fight 55 mph national speed limits and today protects “the rights of the motoring public”), police officers wait on either side of the bridge to ticket drivers. The angle of the bridge allows officers to stay mostly out of sight until drivers have crossed the bridge and are traveling downhill. By then, it’s too late.

Analysts looked at 15 years of data from the National Speed Trap Exchange, a website ( run by the NMA, where specific speed trap locations are listed and commenters can confirm knowledge of them with a yes or no vote. The reported speed trap at Spanish River Road and the I-95 overpass received 324 “yes” votes and only 3 “no” votes — the highest of any speed trap in the state. The second most driver-confirmed speed trap is in Alachua County. It received 173 “yes” votes.
“Although law enforcement maintain that the goal of speed traps is to increase safety,” the report concludes, “opponents assert that they are simply one more way for states and municipalities to generate funds.”

In Florida, a speeding ticket for going 6-9 mph over the speed limit comes with a fine of $129. The price soars to $204 if caught driving 10-14 mph over the speed limit.
Of the 20 cities with the worst speed traps in the nation, Florida was home to five — the most of any state. Sarasota is considered to have the most speed traps per resident, followed by Boca Raton, Pensacola, Melbourne, and Ormond Beach.

While the speed trap in Boca Raton is the state’s most driver-confirmed speed trap, it seems that officers might be on a ticketing hiatus. Boca Raton Police say that since January, they have not issued a single speeding ticket at the Spanish River Road overpass, just three warnings. It’s unclear why, but one reason could be construction in that location as a new I-95 interchange is being built to relieve traffic from Glades Road. The $67 million project began in January 2014 and won’t be completed until 2017. 
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Jess Swanson is a staff writer at New Times. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Communication and wrote briefly for the student newspaper until realizing her true calling: pissing off fraternity brothers by reporting about their parties on her crime blog. Especially gifted in jumping rope and solving Rubik’s cubes, she also holds the title for longest stint as an unpaid intern in New Times history. She left the Magic City for New York to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she spent a year profiling circumcised men who were trying to regrow their foreskins for a story that ultimately won the John Horgan Award for Critical Science Journalism. Terrified by pizza rats and arctic temperatures, she quickly returned to her natural habitat.
Contact: Jess Swanson