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Laws Being Broken

Laws Being Broken

During my Correspondence with the Massachusetts Highway Department researching this site, I was directed to the standards set forth in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.  This information is also available on-line at http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov

I have found that the town of Leverett Massachusetts is in violation of at least two of these regulations with their Speed Trap.

The first law being broken is Section 2B.13 Speed Limit Sign here as a link or as a PDF.

The relevant portion of this regulation states that:

"When a speed limit is to be posted, it should be within 10 km/h or 5 mph of the 85th-percentile speed of free-flowing traffic.”

According to the only Speed Study done for Route 63 passing through Leverett Massachusetts the speed of free flowing traffic is 56 miles an hour. This dictates a lowest speed 47.6 miles an hour.

Elsewhere in this same document it states:

“The speed limits shown shall be in multiples of 10 km/h or 5 mph.”

Dictating that the lowest speed that can be posted for this stretch of Route 63 is therefore 50 miles-an-hour.

Section 2B.13 does state five exceptions, none of which apply in this case:

“Other factors that may be considered when establishing speed limits are the following:

  • Road characteristics, shoulder condition, grade, alignment, and sight distance;
    (Route 63 is very nearly straight and flat with good paving and good visibility for the road section in question)
  • The pace speed;
    (The pace speed is regarded as the speed of free flowing traffic as discussed in the Speed Study above.)
  • Roadside development and environment;
    (This section of Route 63 can be described as rural. Most of the entire length of one side of the road is covered by a horse farm which has only a single driveway.)
  • Parking practices and pedestrian activity; and
    (Along this stretch State Highway no parking is permitted and there is little if any pedestrian traffic.)
  • Reported crash experience for at least a 12-month period.
    (I have not been able to find a record of any substantial motor vehicle crash for this section of Route 63. I would be interested in any relevant information, particularly before May of 1973 when the Speed Trap was requested.  And then any similar reporting after this date to demonstrate that the Speed Trap has resolved these safety concerns.)

The second law being broken is Section 2C.30 Speed Reduction Signs here as a link or as a PDF.

The relevant part of which states:

“A Speed Reduction sign should be used to inform road users of a reduced speed zone when engineering judgment indicates the need for advance notice to comply with the posted speed limit ahead.”

Since the engineering judgment for this section of Route 63 is that no speed reduction is warranted at all, there should be at least a notice of speed reduction to indicate this entirely unexpected speed drop passing through Leverett on Route 63.

The fact that there is no such speed reduction sign in Leverett makes suspect the reason for the reduced speed zone at all. It appears evident that this speed reduction is not for the purpose of reducing traffic speed. Through study it becomes clear that this speed reduction is primarily for the purpose of raising money for the township.  This is explored more fully in the section Costs Of The Trap.