Written by Gregory Monte.
As I have written on several occasions (most recently on December 4th), PA State Troops A, F & G consistently issue more holiday speeding tickets than any of the other Troops – by a long shot.
So, if you intend to travel the highways of our Commonwealth during the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holidays, you had better keep an eye on your speedometer (or get a good radar detector) while driving in the following counties:
Cambria, Indiana, Somerset, Westmorland, Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Tioga, Bedford, Blair, Centre, Fulton, Huntingdon, Mifflin/Juniata.
Why an Anomaly?
Troops A, F & G issue something like 4x as many tickets as the “reasonable” Troops D, P & R. What could possibly account for this anomaly? In previous posts, I eliminated the following four factors:
- Population of the counties “served”
- Number of interstate roads in the counties “served”
- Number of square miles in the counties “served”
- Number of local police departments in the counties “served”
This post will now address other possible factors that were brought to my attention by several readers in recent days.
Counties with Most Traffic Crashes/Fatalities? Nope
What about the possibility that counties with the highest crash rates would get extra enforcement in an attempt to improve safety on the roads?
Fortunately, Pennsylvania publishes statistics which enabled me to assess this possibility. According to PennDOT’s 2018 Pennsylvania Crash Facts & Statistics:
“The ten counties with the most reported traffic crashes were: Allegheny (9.6%) Philadelphia (8.6%) Montgomery (7.2%) Bucks (4.8%) Lancaster (4.7%) Berks (4.0%) Chester (3.8%) Delaware (3.8%) Lehigh (3.7%) York (3.7%)”
If you compare the above list with the counties “served” by Troops A, F & G you will see that none of these match up. Even when it comes to actual fatalities in the crash statistics, except for Westmorland, the same holds true:
“The ten counties with the most traffic-related fatalities were: Philadelphia (8.7%) Allegheny (5.7%) Bucks (4.5%) Montgomery (4.2%) York (4.1%) Chester (3.9%) Lancaster (3.8%) Dauphin (3.5%) Berks (3.4%) Westmoreland (2.9%).”
Counties with Most Road Mileage? Nope
What about the possibility that there are more miles of roadway in the A, F & G Troop counties? Couldn’t this possibly account for the issuance of more tickets?
Here is what that same PennDOT report says about miles of state highway:
“The ten counties with the most miles of state highways (maintained by PENNDOT) were:* Westmoreland (2.98%) Allegheny (2.96%) York (2.85%) Washington (2.74%) Lancaster (2.62%) Chester (2.56%) Bucks (2.43%) Crawford (2.29%) Bradford (2.25%) Somerset (2.22%).”
And here is what the report says about local roads and streets:
“The ten counties with the most miles of local roads and streets (maintained by local municipalities) were:* Allegheny (5.85%) Montgomery (3.66%) Lancaster (3.61%) York (3.43%) Chester (3.34%) Bucks (3.24%) Westmoreland (3.08%) Berks (3.07%) Philadelphia (2.84%) Erie (2.29%).”
As you can see, except for Westmorland (local roads), greater total mileage doesn’t account for the higher number of tickets.
Still an Anomaly … But Don’t You Feel Much Safer?
The challenge I offered when I first wrote about this anomaly still holds:
If any reader has a suggestion about what other factor(s) I should focus on or look into, I would gladly accept the challenge.
In the meantime, you can check out all of PennDOT’s Crash Facts & Statistics if you want possibly find something else that would account for the “cowboy” Troopers. For now, there doesn’t appear to be any legitimate explanation.
4 thoughts on “The “Cowboy” PA State Trooper Speeding Ticket Anomaly”
Obviously, when a Chelan County District Court judge (WAshington) stands before a law class and brags his court is the primary revenue making source for Chelan County his county, his mind is on the profits his law mockery court can generate.
Of course, the state gets its cut of the pie.
The foregoing aside, you have the right to review and possess agency policies and procedures agencies apply to you. The State Patrol is no exception.
The State Patrol for the State of Washington, and I presume most other state patrol offices do too, has a nice soft cover book laying out the policies the Patrol MUST follow. I haven’t bought one for well over a decade, but they were only about six bucks back in the day. That wasn’t a bad price for a book about 3/4″ to 1″ thick.
If the state patrol acts contrary to the procedures of the manual, it can be used against the agency to, for example, get the ticket dismissed. At the least, anything relative to the act contrary to the policy can be dismissed, since the agent (patrolman) had no authority to perform the act.
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