Hit the brakes in Wellford and slow down in Duncan. An exclusive 7News investigation identified the Upstate cities and towns where speeding drivers are most likely to get pulled over.
Some of the smallest towns collect the biggest fines.
For example, someone in West Pelzer is 21 times more likely to get a ticket than someone in Williamston, just 2 miles away.
Before landing behind the wheel of a squad car in Wellford, David Green worked in a warzone. He was a private contractor standing guard at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan.
Now, Green patrols Highway 29 in Spartanburg County as an officer with the Wellford Police.
When it comes to traffic enforcement, Officer Green is very good at his job.
“We do have a reputation as a speed trap. Is that a bad thing?” Green asked. “No.”
In the Upstate, you’re more likely to get a ticket while speeding in Wellford than anywhere else.
7News used court surcharges to calculate the number of tickets written in every city, county and small town in South Carolina. The numbers show Wellford writes 5 tickets for every family of four.
In Duncan, which writes tickets at the third fastest Upstate rate, police write one ticket each year for every one of the city’s 3,200 citizens.
“Nobody’s making the person speed coming down the road or commit a violation,” said Duncan chief C.E. Long.
Both towns said they wrote the most tickets to out of town drivers. In both cases that revenue helps boost town budgets into the black.
Wellford writes so many tickets the town budget calls for a half million dollars in revenue from fines and fees. Nearly half of that money is shared with the state, but the tickets still pour about $285,000 into the city’s general fund. That’s nearly a third of total revenue.
In Duncan, the budget called for $200,000 in police fines. That’s 10 cents of every dollar in the general fund.
“If people come in here at night and they’re from outside the city and they’re driving around in here if they commit a violation, if we have a good violation, we’re going to stop them because it’s easier to keep a crime from happening than afterwards trying to stop them,” said Long.
Most police, including those in Duncan and Wellford said they’re only pulling over a fraction of the drivers they could stop. Most allow some leeway in speeding, usually about 10 miles per hour.
LIST OF BIGGEST TICKET TRAPS
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