Strict enforcement near Mantua prompts proposal to limit how much cities can make from traffic fines

MANTUA, Utah -- A Utah legislator is questioning the motives behind a notorious highway speed trap in northern Utah.

Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-District 25, has constituents in Logan, and he sponsored a new bill, Senate Bill 100, that he said came out of years of complaints.

He said it's over strict traffic enforcement in the Mantua area of Highway 89, south of Logan. The area has become so infamous for police pulling people over, that he wanted a bill drafted.

But it's not necessarily because Mantua Police seem gung-ho to catch speeders. Sen. Hillyard said wondered what was motivating the department to take such a strict approach to speeders, because, he said, Mantua makes money from those tickets.

That's why SB 100 would mandate just how much dough city governments can rake in from traffic tickets.

It puts a cap on revenues from traffic fines, by mandating that cities not make more than 25 percent of their total revenues from tickets.

Anything above that would be deposited into the State General Fund.

Sen. Hillyard said city police and judges should not be motivated to make money for the entity they work for. However, Police Chief and Mayor of Mantua, Michael Johnson, said that's not the case.

He said speeding is a huge problem on Highway 89 through Mantua, so they focus on it heavily to stop speeders and drunk drivers.

"Whatever we're doing out here, whether we might make some money off of it or not, the main thing that we're doing out here is ensuring the safety of the motoring public," he said.

While he doesn't agree with Sen. Hillyard's bill and called it prejudicial and ill-conceived, he said it would probably not change their actions of strict speed enforcement and ticket-writing along the highway.

Sen. Hillyard said the bill would affect three towns in the state that currently bring in more than the bill's 25 percent threshold, with Mantua being on that list.

The Senate Transportation and Public Utilities and Technology Committee is taking a look at the bill on Monday afternoon.

12 comments

  • jamesmajor42

    I ride through the canyon a lot. I ride the speed limit and cars pass me as if I’m standing still. However, people do go the speed limit in mantau. I’ll bet that lawmaker got caught hence the bill. It’s simple drive the posted speed, don’t get a ticket.

  • Bob (@the_first_bob)

    Grantsville has a classic speed trap. A 55 mph highway drops to 40. The sign is hidden around a blind curve. You have NO time at all to react before you reach it. They station cops right next to the sign. That’s not “enforcement.” It’s a tax. Deliberately setting up a speed zone so that drivers can’t possibly know the limit until it’s too late has nothing to do with public safety.

  • notsure,but

    I heard on another news outlet that they write well over 2000 tickets a year for a quarter to a half mile stretch of road. I have traveled this area many times. I see a police car either parked there or giving someone a ticket well over 90% of the time I pass this area. IT’S A SPEED TRAP!!!

  • Nessmuk

    I drive this highway many times a week. The speed limit is 60 mph through the entire canyon. At no point does it change or reduce in speed. This is not a speed trap situation. People getting pulled over are flat out speeding and breaking the law! We have speed limits for a reason, they keep us safer on the roads. This Representative is an idiot and should be looking for ways to reduce tax burdens rather then looking for ways to collect taxes without calling it a tax!

  • wadazi

    I’m not a big fan of cities making so much from tickets, but I bet of all the many accidents through that canyon, not many are in Mantua.

  • AVERAGEDUDE

    Similar concept to West Valley City’s photo cop program. They said photo cop saved lives but all it did was enrich their coffers. One day they screwed over a state legislator and now in Utah photo cop is restricted to school zones or where speed limit is 30 mph or less. They can’t make money with those restrictions and so it went away.

  • johnny o'smith

    Anyone living in the area or Logan is not too bright if they speed through there, because the cop that sits at the 2 or 3 selected places is Almost Always there. When I rented a moving truck I was warned, make sure you go through the ‘brake check’ before Brigham or you will be sited. I think it is Necessary for them to patrol that area the way they do because it Obviously Needs it! No speed trap there, but they always are.

  • Neil Olsen

    Our family used to recreate in the Mantua area, boated on the lake – NOT any more, I hate the place. I have not received a citation, but just being in that speed trap atmosphere gives my the creeps.
    Building up speed before climbing the hills can save a substantial amount of fuel, and having to slow down before driving up to the crest is a way stupid scenario, makes greater pollution, and it is proven that Five, Ten miles per hour faster has NO detriment to safety.
    I will take my love for the area elsewhere.

  • jmajor

    A speed trap is one where the officer is hidden and you can tell where he is. Mostly likely near a drop in speed to where you don’t have time to slow down. I hate to break it to you, but this is not a speed trap. You can see the officer well before you approach him. That does not constitute a speed trap. If you drive the speed limit you won’t get a ticket. Plain and simple. So what if they give over 2k tickets. Goes to show how much speeding goes on. But I can see the other side too. I’m sure the officer leaves alone campers and other things that are being towed. I would hate to think that the guy would give a ticket for that reason. However, the law is the law and must be followed.

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