WJHL.com - Speeding on area roads - where are the speeding hot spots?

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Community Watchdog

Speeding on area roads - where are the speeding hot spots?

Amos Phillips never wanted to be in this position, but here he is, his blood still boiling, about to fork over $104 for a speeding ticket.


"First speeding ticket, so kind of like a slap in the face," Phillips said. "They got me going 76 in a 55."


The college student couldn't believe it when a Johnson City police officer pulled him over on Interstate 26, despite everyone else around him driving just as fast.


"I was even more outraged when I saw the ticket, how much I had to pay, because it was more than I ever paid in my life," Phillips said.


Interstate 26 is without a doubt one of the most common places to get a speeding ticket in Johnson City, but it's not number one. Instead, that dubious distinction belongs to University Parkway. It's near East Tennessee State University, there's a lot of traffic and clearly a lot of those people don't pay much attention to the speed limit.


At our request, four area police departments handed over spreadsheets that outline every speeding ticket written in 2012.


The data showed in Johnson City, University Parkway, I-26 and Sunset Drive made up a third of the nearly 12,000 tickets issued last year.


In Kingsport, most of the departments more than 6,000 tickets came from John B. Dennis Highway, Stone Drive and Center Street.


In Bristol, Tennessee, the majority of the department's nearly 3,000 citations stemmed from traffic stops on Volunteer Parkway, Highway 394 and Cedar Street.


Just across the border in Bristol, Virginia, I-81, Lee Highway and Euclid Avenue made up a good chunk of the roughly 1,000 tickets written there.


Drivers may call those areas speed traps, but Lt. Larry Williams with the Johnson City Police Department doesn't buy that.


"Nobody can watch the speedometer at all times," Lt. Williams said. "Sooner or later you're going to be doing over the speed limit and you'll be at the wrong place at the wrong time and a police officer's going to get you."


Those words aren't just coming from a police officer. They're coming from a man who has been caught speeding before.


"I think I've had three, maybe three speeding tickets," Lt. Williams said. "I know in my years, I've had my fair share of speeding citations, it's just one of those things."


Lt. Williams says where people get tickets the most, aside from interstates, are four-lane roads that look and feel like they should be faster highways, but have businesses and homes alongside them that require lower speed limits. He says officers target those areas, because they're home to consistent speeders; people who travel those roads every day.


"It's just a means of getting your attention back," Lt. Williams said. "If you get a speeding ticket over here on University Parkway, the next time you travel University Parkway, which is probably going to be many times a week, you won't be speeding when you come through there. You got it in your mind, 'Hey, there may be a police officer out there, I need to pay attention to what I'm doing.'"


JCPD got Charles Guinn's attention. The 25 year-old just paid his $104 ticket.


"I was in a hurry, I knew I was speeding, I didn't realize I was going as fast as I was," Guinn said.


He says it won't happen again, at least on the stretch of road police caught him speeding.


"That's one thing about it, you sort of got to learn to respect (the speed limit), I mean 104 bucks isn't easy to come by," Guinn said.


Something to remember, although some officers give drivers a little leeway when it comes to speeding, police say you better not go one mile above the speed limit in a school or construction zone. There, they say there's zero tolerance.


Tennessee Highway Patrol also provided us with preliminary data regarding THP speeding tickets in 2012. According to that information, 20% of all of THP's tickets in this region came along Interstate 26 in Unicoi County. Highway 11E in Greene County saw the second highest number of THP tickets. Highway 11W in both Sullivan and Hawkins counties had quite a few tickets. Highway 19E in Carter County had more than 250 speeding citations too. Also, troopers clocked hundreds of drivers on Interstates 81 and 26 in Washington, Sullivan and Greene counties.

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