Group ranks BG high as speed trap

Jacob Ryan

Speed demons, beware. Bowling Green has been recognized by the National Motorists Association as the second worst speed trap city in Kentucky.

Louisville was named as the first.

The NMA’s National Speed Trap Exchange cites Bowling Green as having the most speed traps of cities in Kentucky with a  population under 100,000.

The results are based on user-reported speed traps, which can be posted on the website, according to the site.

Yet the news comes as a surprise to Barry Pruitt, public information officer for the Bowling Green Police Department.

He said the goal of traffic enforcement isn’t to write a bunch of tickets for people.

“We don’t have a quota system,” Pruitt said. “When we see a violation, we’re expected to take some action.  Maybe we don’t have to issue a citation — maybe a warning. The main target is to make people obey the law.”

He said the main two citizen complaints are speeding and excessively loud car stereos.

“When we get a complaint, it is our job to investigate and see if there is a problem,” Pruitt said.

If police notice that there’s an issue where drivers are caught speeding, then action is taken to help educate the drivers on the speed limit while enforcing the law and promoting safety, he said.

“People who design roadways determine what a safe speed is,” Pruitt said.  “When you speed, you’re going faster than the road is designed to handle.”

Nashville senior Taylor Guardino said the ranking is completely accurate.

“I have been pulled over — there were four cops just sitting in a parking lot at approximately 11:30 on a Saturday night,” he said.  “I think we have way too many cops in Bowling Green, and the fact that you can’t drive for more than three minutes before you see at least one cop is ridiculous.”

Fort Campbell sophomore Trent Brock said he’s never been pulled over by a police officer in Bowling Green before.

“It’s actually surprising that Bowling Green is rated the second highest because of the size of the town,” he said. “I think it’s the perfect location to get motorists that are traveling on I-65 between Nashville and Louisville, which is probably what the police think as well.”

City Commissioner Brian “Slim” Nash said that enforcing speed limits is an important responsibility for police.

“Speeding enforcement is necessary,” he said.  “The city has a very proactive approach toward speeding.  Police go out and will notify citizens if they are speeding.  Hopefully they’ll correct their own behavior.”

Nash said he has never heard any complaints about there being too many speed traps in town.

He said he supports officer enforcement of the traps in the areas listed on the NMA website.

Bruce Wilkerson, city commissioner and former Bowling Green police officer, said he didn’t write many speeding tickets when he was on duty, but it was part of the job.

“The purpose is to slow people down,” he said. “Speed enforcement is part of law enforcement.”

Reporter Spencer Jenkins contributed to this story.