speed traps

Driving – not flying – on the weekend? Watch for speed traps

Flinstone car - from the movie - at LeMay:America's Car Museum


If you’re driving – not flying – this Memorial Day holiday weekend, you won’t be on the roads alone: AAA is predicting 34.8 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday, the highest volume in last five years.

But as you hurry to reach your holiday destination, be careful about stepping on the gas: Holiday traffic brings out the traffic cops, the speed traps and the likelihood of bringing home a speeding ticket among your holiday souvenirs.

Mobile apps such as Trapster and websites such as the National Speed Trap Exchange, sponsored by the National Motorists Association (NMA), do their bit to warn lead-footed drivers of what lies ahead on the road.

The NMA, a grassroots motorists’ rights group, has also updated its 2010 rankings of the cities and states that are generally more likely to dun speeding drivers.

“Most states don’t have a central collection point for traffic ticket data,” said NMA spokesman John Bowman. So the group analyzed eight ticket-related search queries using Google’s Insights for Search, which shows search trends across the country.

The NMA found that:

• Nevada is the state most likely to issue traffic tickets, followed by Georgia and Alabama. (In 2010, Florida took the top spot; Georgia and Nevada tied for second place.)

• Wyoming is the state least likely to issue speeding tickets, followed closely by Montana. These two ranked at the bottom in 2010 as well.

See the full list here.

Bowman said the list of top 25 states hasn’t really changed that much since 2010 and that the bottom 10 are also much the same, with a few exceptions.

“Three states moved up into the top 10 in terms of volume of tickets: Maryland, Louisiana and California. That didn’t surprise us at all as it jives very well with the calls we get from members looking for help,” said Bowman.

He also said that something has changed, ticket-wise, in Nebraska. “Two years ago Nebraska was in the bottom 10, but it has moved up to number 33 in the rankings. We’re not sure what’s going on there.”

In addition to the state rankings, this year NMA also ranked the top 10 metro areas for traffic tickets. Atlanta, Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth topped the list of cities most likely to ticket drivers. Miami, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C, Houston, Orlando and San Diego also made that list.

Beyond the irritation (and embarrassment) of getting pulled over for a speeding ticket on your vacation, there is, of course, the cost.

“More people are traveling this holiday, but many are economizing by cutting entertainment expenses, traveling shorter distances, booking hotels with value added features and staying with friends or family instead of hotels,” said Cynthia Brough, spokesperson for AAA National, which doesn’t monitor speed traps but does warn members of strict enforcement regions. “And most people don’t include the cost of speeding tickets in their travel budgets.”

(My story ‘Taking a road trip this holiday weekend? Watch out for speed traps‘ first appeared on msnbc.com.)