Los Angeles

LAPD Unable to Enforce Speed Limits Due to Budget Cuts

A little-known requirement means officers cannot use laser guns on roughly two-thirds of the city's streets.

Maybe you've noticed something about speeding tickets lately: drivers are getting less of them.

That's not because drivers are slowing down, but because officers have been hindered by a little-known law that officers say is crippling them.

By law, the Department of Transportation must survey city streets to determine what the speed limit should be and if they have been surveyed, then officers are able to use laser guns to enforce that limit.

If there is no survey, it renders the radar useless. 

"The courts are more reluctant to convict anyone for speeding, if we didn't use the laser," said veteran LAPD Motor Officer Troy Williams. 

According to Williams, back in 2010, the city wrote over 99,400 citations for unsafe speeding citywide. Last year, the city only wrote 16,000.

That's not a good thing. Drivers, pedestrians and bike riders alike are in more danger than before. Fatal collisions since that period have increased by 20 percent. 

Police say that 75 percent of the streets in the entire city are now expired.

Nader Asmar, of the Los Angeles City Department of Transportation, said it happened over a few years.

"The DOT had to lay off the employees who did the surveys," he said.

The staff went from seven full-time staff to just two.

Asmar added, "Every month, we might have ten streets expiring, but we're only completing two or three with current staffing."

Police say that 81 percent of the streets where laser guns can no longer be used lie in what has been called the city's "high injury network," streets with the highest concentration of severe injury and death from collisions. 

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