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America's Worst Speed Traps

If you’ve ever been pulled over for speeding, you know it feels like you’re a gazelle that just got taken down by a lion.

And, while this recession, and the gaping budget holes that resulted, have turned most cities into a jungle for motorists, there are some cities that have far more speed traps than others. And automated traffic cams have only egged them on – Now they can snag just as many motorists for speeding, if not more, with less manpower.

It’s hard to get this information from the police or the courts for two reasons: 1) Many tickets are negotiated in court and 2) speed limits, while originally designed to conserve fuel during the energy crisis of the 1970s, have grown into a cash cow for states and municipalities – and they don’t want you to know how much they’re making off of speeding tickets.

“Speed limits are supposed to be based on factual studies of traffic and what the majority of motorists deem as a safe speed,” said Chad Dornsife, director of the Highway Safety Group. “Now, the posted limit has become a revenue generator – not a safety device.”

The National Motorists Association, a drivers’ rights group, estimates that speeding tickets are a $4.5 to $6 billion industry in America.

To be clear, speeding tickets aren’t just for lead foots: In some places, they’ll ticket you for going one mile over the speed limit and others set the speed limits artificially low.

“In some places, the average speed limit is set 10 to 15 miles below the actual safe speed for conditions,” Dornsife said. “It makes technical violators out of people otherwise driving safely.”

Click ahead to see the top 10 cities with the most speed traps, based on driver reports to the NMA.

By Cindy Perman
Posted 17 Feb 2011

Photo: Bill Fritsch | Brand X Pictures | Getty Images