Photo: 2003- American Automobile Association
For many years, the American Automobile Association (AAA) erected signs outside the town of Waldo, Florida, warning motorists about speed traps. But now, AAA says the towns of Waldo and Lawtey are no longer traffic traps.
AAA Removes "Traffic Trap" Designations for Lawtey and Waldo, FL
AAA's long-term efforts, a disbanded police department, a new police chief and legislative action have yielded reasonable traffic law enforcement practices warranting removal of the designations
TAMPA, Fla. (July 10, 2018) – A nearly 23-yearlong era of being designated the only AAA Traffic Traps in the USA has come to an end for the Florida cities of Lawtey and Waldo. The national AAA organization has approved the request from AAA – The Auto Club Group which for decades has worked with government and transportation officials at all levels to address undue traffic law enforcement taking place for profit, and not for safety.
The decision means that AAA will no longer provide its members with warnings to drive with extreme caution or take alternate routes.
In its notification letter to Lawtey Mayor Jimmie Scott, AAA applauded the proactive traffic safety efforts – including increased warnings, a focus on officer training and participation in national traffic safety campaigns – employed by his Police Chief, Shane Bennett. In its notification letter to Waldo Mayor Louie Davis, AAA referenced the state law that prohibits the establishment of traffic citation quotas – a behavior that led to the abolishment of the Waldo Police Department – and the fact that traffic enforcement in the city is now handled by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.
Waldo and Lawtey, Florida were first designated by AAA as Traffic Traps in August of 1995, following a flurry of motorist complaints and extensive investigation by AAA clearly demonstrating that profit, and not safety, was the primary motivation for the issuance of traffic citations.
Over the years AAA has worked aggressively to improve the situation. Its meetings with the Florida Department of Transportation resulted in increased speed limits that were posted artificially low, appropriate advance placement of “Reduced Speed Ahead” signs, and better visibility of speed limit signs through the use of reflective panels. AAA also worked with lawmakers to address the issue, pointing out the negative impact on Florida tourism, and continued to meet with and urge the cities’ former police chiefs to practice more fair and effective traffic enforcement.
AAA continues to encourage all drivers to observe speed limit signs and recognize that posted limits are considered the maximum safe speed under ideal traffic and weather conditions. Likewise, AAA urges all law enforcement agencies to practice visible and preventive traffic law enforcement exclusively for the purpose of improving traffic safety.
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.5 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 58 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. Visit AAA on the Internet at AAA.com.