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DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Speedsters can indeed be a drag

by Frank Fellone | July 18, 2020 at 8:21 a.m.

Dear Mahatma: I live above the Interstate 430 bridge. Several times a day, and often at night, I hear cars and motorcycles speeding across the bridge. They return to normal speed once they pick up the other side. Have the police ever thought of mounting radar equipment midway to capture these speeders who use the bridge as a drag strip? -- Steph

Dear Steph: The police in question would be the Arkansas State Police. We probed for answers from its longtime media guy, Bill Sadler. What follows is a paraphrased Q&A. (Comments from The Mahatma are in parentheses.)

Is it safe to assume Troop A runs speed enforcement on the Interstate 430 bridge?

A day doesn't go by without speed enforcement patrols in the area of the bridge, working both north and south sides. It's not unusual to have saturation patrols.

Is speed enforcement driven by request or complaint or something else?

State troopers don't need an invitation to enforce the law, every day and every night. That's their sworn duty.

In fact, during 2019, troopers assigned to Troop A -- Pulaski, Faulkner, Lonoke and Saline counties -- issued 16,863 speeding tickets. Over all 75 counties, troopers passed out 69,590 speeding tickets in 2019.

What should Steph do if she believes there's speeding on the Interstate 430 bridge?

Any citizen who witnesses a driving violation that may be so dangerous as to cause injury or death should not hesitate to call the state police at *55 or call the communications center at (501) 618-8100.

(The Mahatma advocates putting *55 into cellphone contacts.)

Is the Interstate 430 bridge known to be a drag strip?

It is not known to be a place for organized drag-racing. Which is not to say drag-racing doesn't happen, especially in the late evening hours.

While there may be fewer troopers on patrol in the wee hours of the morning, speeders do get stopped then.

Is radar equipment ever mounted, as Steph suggests, or monitored remotely?

This matter is addressed by Arkansas Code Annotated 27-51-110, "Automated enforcement devices -- operation outside a municipality," and Arkansas Code Annotated 27-51-111, "Automated enforcement devices -- operating within a municipality."

Both statutes prohibit use of an automated enforcement device by law enforcement agencies.

(What this means, in practical terms, is no radar unless it's either operated or attended by a law enforcement officer.)

Changing gears, we have asked the City of North Little Rock about a start date for the new traffic signal on North Hills Boulevard, an important arterial road that funnels traffic into downtown Little Rock.

Word from Danny Bradley, chief of staff to Mayor Joe Smith, is that the signal will be activated in two or three weeks.

Vanity plate seen around town: WHEEZER.


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