By Mandy Locke, Staff Writer
Fewer drivers speeding through Raleigh will be able to snag a break from police.
Raleigh city attorney Tom McCormick says he will initiate steps to repeal local ordinances outlawing speeding. Drivers cited under these ordinances pay a fee, but are spared more serious punishments -- such as possible loss of license and hikes in insurance premiums.
McCormick said these rules -- which mirror state laws -- shouldn't have been on the books from the start.
"Cities are not allowed to criminalize actions the state has already made criminal," said McCormick. He had no idea when the city adopted the codes.
A News & Observer investigation on speeding last May revealed that Raleigh police gave some speeders a break by citing them under city codes instead of state law. A quarter of the roughly 20,000 drivers stopped by Raleigh police for speeding in 2006 were cited under city codes, which do not require a trip to court.
Raleigh police cited 175 drivers under city code twice within the last five years.
Raleigh police have no policies to guide officers on which drivers get cited by city codes or get a ticket for violating state law.
The department suspended the practice this summer after Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker asked the city attorney to review the practice, said Jim Sughrue, spokesman for the police department. Meeker said officers ought to have guidelines on when to use city ordinances.
Dawn Bryant, the department's attorney, said good manners and a clean record likely factored into which drivers got favorable treatment. One Raleigh officer treated as many as 80 percent of drivers to a city code violation; others granted none.
Other Wake County towns, such as Garner, have local codes that ban speeding. Police there, however, have said they are reluctant to use them for fear of showing favoritism.
Staff writer Mandy Locke can be reached at 919-829-8927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.