Towns object to ‘speed trap’ tag

Where’s the worst place to speed in the Arlington area? For some, the answer is often Pantego or Dalworthington Gardens.

Officials of both towns, which are surrounded by the larger city, acknowledge their speed-trap reputations but say they’re undeserved.

“That’s the reputation for a lot of small towns,” Pantego Police Chief Jon Coulter said. “We have a smaller area to cover, so we are seen out there a lot more.”

Dalworthington Gardens Chief Bill Waybourn agrees.

“My experience says that if you are a small town, it does not matter if you write five, 500 or 5,000 tickets, you are going to be called a speed trap,” Waybourn said.

Pantego sees about 166,000 motorists a day, Coulter said. But in 2005, the city issued only 3,317 traffic citations, or 276 per month.

Considering the traffic volume, Coulter said, “that’s not very many.”

Waybourn said about 200,000 vehicles drive through Dalworthington Gardens each day.

“We issue 800 citations a month,” Waybourn said. “Only 200 to 250 of those are for speeding.”

Waybourn said that nationwide, 96 percent of serious criminals are picked up on traffic stops. So while he disagrees with the speed-trap reputation, he makes no apologies for enforcing the law.

“Traffic enforcement,” he said, “is also crime deterrence.”