Boca Grande motorists love driving in the village, according to the latest report on speed traps in the United States.
In Florida, Boca Grande was one of 532 cities, towns, villages and even neighborhoods rated for the tendency of police to issue speeding citations by the National Motorists Association.
Boca Grande rated well against the entire state, including neighboring Rotonda, El Jobean, Venice, Placida and Englewood.
The village becomes an even greater haven when compared with large metro areas such as Tampa and even much sub-50,000 population Waldo, which is rated the No. 3 worst speed trap in the entire nation.
The report noted law enforcement's tendency to issue warnings around Boca Grande, which cost a driver nothing, instead of expensive traffic citations.
"LCSO deputies tend to issue warnings, not tickets, in Boca Grande," according to the National Speed Trap Exchange. "Be polite and you will get off with a warning. Be rude or tell the deputy about all your friends in high places, and you will get a ticket."
Progressive Boca Grande
Three Boca Grande-area speed traps are cited in the latest study by the National Motorists Association, which also praised the village for its progressive use of warnings versus citations:
1)Gasparilla Causeway, (called Gulf Boulevard in the report), is the only north-south road of the village of Boca Grande with a posted speed limit of 30 mph.
The report: "The boulevard borders Gulf beaches and motorists tend to pay more attention to the view than their speed. Enforcement is complaint-driven, and those who live along the road are constantly complaining. Look for Lee County Sheriff's Office deputies parked between the road and the bike path on the east side of the road.
"LCSO deputies tend to issue warnings, not tickets, in Boca Grande. Be polite and you will get off with a warning. Be rude or tell the deputy about all your friends in high places, and you will get a ticket. If it's after midnight and you are heading north on Gulf Boulevard, there will most likely be a deputy doing speed enforcement."
2)Gasparilla Road near State Road 776. "Going 7 mph over the limit costs $150 and four points when ticketed."
3)Gasparilla Road near Ninth Street in Boca Grande where speed limit drops from 35 mph to 20 mph. "Trees along this heavily traveled road provide cover for police cruisers."
John Bowman, communications director for the National Motorists Association, said Boca Grande's speeding ticket policy is progressive.
"We routinely get feedback from law enforcement officers that giving warnings is more effective than heavy-handed speed enforcement," Bowman said. "It maintains good relations with the community and people tend to pay more attention to warnings because they are not ticked off."
Boca Grande speed enforcement generated a paltry four complaints compared with hundreds for other Sunshine State locations.
The National Motorists Association conducted the public polling to identify the worst speed trap locations across the United States and Canada. Speed traps typically combine arbitrarily low speed limits with heavy traffic enforcement designed to generate ticket revenue.
"While the intent may be to modify driver behavior long-term, that is rarely the result," said Bowman. "Speed traps keep springing up in the same locations, the issuance of tickets flows unabated, and there is no material effect on traffic safety."
Boca Grande neighbor Placida also looked good in the report with one complaint about a speed trap at the entry to the Hideaway Beach Club on State Road 775.
Neighboring Venice listed more than 25 speed traps with one of the worst being Jacaranda Boulevard with its 30-mph limit. Ninety-two drivers complained it was a speed trap with 28 saying it was not.
Ten Englewood speed traps were listed with State Road 776 near San Casa one of the most offensive, according to motorists.
Larger cities had many more speed traps. Sarasota and Tampa, for example, each listed more than 50 speed traps.
The NMA advocates increased speed limits in chronic speed trap areas supported by traffic studies and proven engineering principles.
"The real key to setting speed limits appropriately is to make sure a traffic engineering study has been done on the road, which will tell you what the speed limit should be given the type of road it is, the amount of traffic volume on the road and, in particular, given the speed traffic naturally flows," Bowman said. "What is the real-world speed on that road? Typically it's a speed people feel comfortable and safe driving at."
The NMA analyzed five years of data from the National Speed Trap Exchange, which lists tens of thousands of chronic speed traps in the United States and Canada and includes commentary on each. Thousands of drivers throughout North America vote on which locations qualify as speed traps.
To develop the rankings, the NMA calculated the number of affirmative votes on speed traps in a given community and then indexed the total to the community's population. Only speed traps with high levels of consensus factored into the rankings.