Speed trap camera snags driver zipping along Napoleon Ave.
Sunday as I drove Rosemary to Greenwood on Highway 7 to catch the train for her return trip to New Orleans, I recalled having earned my last speeding ticket on that road some years earlier.
No sooner had the words escaped my mouth than I got an uneasy feeling that I had violated one of Murphey’s principles and was inviting another ticket by having mentioned it aloud. So I drove more cautiously for as long as I remembered it. Not for long.
That very afternoon as I opened mail I had brought with me from New Orleans back to Batesville I came across an envelope that had the City of New Orleans listed in the upper left corner but with a Tempe, AZ address.
Inside was a “Notice of Violation” with three photos of my car and its license plate as I sped at 28 m.p.h. through the 900 block of Napoleon Avenue — in a 20 m.p.h. school zone at 8:51 a.m. on a Tuesday morning.
I had read about these speed cameras placed at strategic places around the city and now I’d been had by one. The camera company puts them up at no cost to the city, keeps 65 percent of the fine revenue and sends 35 percent to the city. What I read also leads me to believe that not everybody is happy with cameras watching, clicking and ticketing.
There is a provision for an administrative hearing if I want, but the fine is only $75 and I’m guilty. Besides, nobody would have patience with me whining that although there may be a nearby sign stating that the school zone speed limit continues until 9 a.m., a real cop monitoring radar would have packed up and left by 8:51 — the kids having all disappeared inside.
I can pay with credit card online where I can also view clearer versions of the photos. Or with check through the mail. The Machiavellian beauty is that until I opened the envelope, the whole process had probably not required human handling. How efficient!
The upside of all this is that now I’ve got a great idea for funding Mississippi’s badly needed highway and bridge improvements: Speed trap cameras placed at frequent intervals along I-55 from Louisiana to Tennessee. With all those drivers who cruise at 90 to 100 mph and the hefty fines that come with the higher speeds, 35 percent for the state would soon have us repaving, rebuilding and repairing.