Gifford, South Carolina Speed Traps
Northbound speed limit 55 to whatever the actual speed is in town, per the officer who slapped me for 60/35 and I had my cruise on when I had moved down to 45 knowing I was going through a rural area and not the highway only to get slapped with a reckless driving? Avoid this podunk town at all times possible, I used 321 to avoid the I-95 nightmare and got punished for it. Weapons grade joke of an agency.
Going through town, speed drops without warning from 55 to 45, then 45 to 35 very shortly after. Unmarked car sitting at side of road with tinted windows pulls out after you if you miss seeing the speed limit signs and dings you for excessive speed.
Northbound on Columbia Hwy N/US-321, just past a cotton field on the right, the speed suddenly drops from 55mph (no prior warning sign) to 45mph and then in less than 100 yards drops again to 35mph (again, no warning sign). The sole cop in town sits in an unmarked, black car under a tree in the parking area of a house on the right side of the road, pointed South, just past the 35mph sign, targeting drivers headed northbound. They only stop vehicles with out of state tags. They wait until you are North of the town to pull up behind and pull you over, about 1.5-2miles past the alleged infraction point. While I was observing, I saw 2 out of state vehicles pulled over at the same location for the same alleged offense in less than 1 hour. The cop indicates a speed of >25mph over the 35mph limit and then, depending on how nice you are to her, she may “reduce” that to somewhere in the >10mph and <25mph range, which becomes a $128.75 ticket with 4 SC points (if your state recognizes SC points). She will, of course, be “nice” enough to point out you can just pay this fine online, no need to show up to court in 2-3 weeks. Of course, if you are not “nice” and “polite” then she will hit you up for a higher speed (no, you cannot see the radar or verify the radar calibration), a greater fine and then they will look for other things wrong (check your insurance card, check your lights, check your tires, etc.). So, be sweet and polite and say nothing else. Pretend you like paying their salary, because you are. This is clearly the only revenue generation for this tiny town, which has a population of 300 with nothing but cotton fields surrounding it.
Let’s do some quick math on this: If the sole cop generates 2 tickets at $128.75/ea per hour = $257.50/hr x (conservatively) a 5hr ticket generation window for a 8hr shift = $1287.50/shift (they probably only operate day time hours only, conservatively) x 30days/mth = $38,625/mth or $463,500/yr. And that is being conservative with numbers. They could easily double that to nearly $1M in revenue per year if they “work” a little harder. I’ll bet their town budget figures for minimum revenue of around $400,000/yr for “traffic enforcement” revenue.
This is a total scam. Oh, sure, the speed limit signs exist, but, there are no warning signs of an upcoming speed change. Many of the towns along US-321 have the same scheme going on. They have nothing else to do but generate tickets in this old, Southern cotton farming town.
I was driving south to north through this town. Saw the 45 mph sign and then the 35 mph sign. Kept my speed within 5 mph of posted limits. As I approached the north side of town, there is a hill one has to climb and also within 100 feet, one can easily see the 45 mph sign. I accelerated up the hill, past the 45 mph sign, and then continued at that speed till I saw the 55 mph sign. I was quite a bit past the 55 mph sign when I saw an unmarked silver police car with it’s lights on far in the distance behind me. I pulled over at a safe point and at that time, the officer told me I was going 47 in a 35. I told him I had seen the 45 mph sign and had begun accelerating, however, he informed me that the speed did not change till after the sign and that I was going that speed before reaching the sign. I told him I had a what is labeled as a ‘Safe Driver’ on my drivers’ license and that I had never received a speeding ticket in over 40 years of driving. I thought I was going to get a warning. No, instead I got a ticket for $128.75. Even if traveling north to south through Gifford beware. If you start down that hill and are not going 35 mph when you reach that sign, you’re setting yourself up for a ticket. Just do yourself a favor and avoid this area like the plague–include with that all of 321. At least 20 to 30 small towns within only a few miles of each other the entire length of 321 and all drop their speeds to 35 mph. I only went through this area as there was a 10 mile traffic jam on I-95 before 26 and didn’t want any part of it. I would have rather have been in that than again deal with that drive on 321–even if I hadn’t received a speeding ticket.
Speed limit drops without warning from 55 to 35. Had my cruise set on 58 then braked as I came up on the 35 mph sign. The officer was hidden behind a building right after the sign. Said I was going 63 in a 35. $440 ticket and 6 points. Would not confirm if he clocked me on radar.
Total scam operation. Town is one intersection, 1/2 mile long and this appears to be the only revenue generator there.