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Two of state's top ten speed traps in WNY

Western New York sees a lot more speeding tickets than the rest of the state.
A New York State trooper hands out a ticket

BUFFALO, NY -- We've all seen troopers lying in wait, searching for fast drivers. But here in Western New York, we might be seeing a lot more of these officers, and more speeding tickets, than other parts of the state.

The question is, are these officers setting speed traps?

"I don't look at it as a trap," said New York State Trooper Mike Niezgoda. "I look at it as we're doing our job."

31-year veteran Trooper Victor Morales agrees.

"The term speed trap makes it look like we're hiding behind a bush and that's not it," Morales said. "We're out there in plain sight. You get people who still use their cell phone, still speed, they will still do things that they shouldn't be doing right there in front of us."

Still, state ticketing statistics show that certain parts of New York State's roadways do account for more than their fair share of tickets.

Based on last year's traffic ticket data, the stretch of 290 in the Town of Tonawanda was one of the top 10 speed traps in the state. Almost 4,000 speeding tickets were issued there last year, which is good enough to make it the state's number six speed trap.

But one local stretch of highway is ranked even higher. The I-90 in the Town of Cheektowaga was the number one so-called speed trap in 2013, with more than 5,800 tickets. That's more than 1,000 more than the runner up.

So why so many speeding tickets in Erie County?

"You have to remember this is the second largest metropolitan area in New York State," said Trooper Morales. "There's actually more traffic in that section than the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York City."

The I-90 in Cheektowaga has the most vehicles. Some 130,000 people travel that seven mile stretch of freeway every day.

Going 62 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone probably won't get you noticed, but troopers have seen speeds exceed 100 mph. And getting a read on speed has gotten easier for police thanks to new technology, which uses light to track a driver's speed.

"A laser just gives us the ability to pinpoint right in on a specific vehicle," said Trooper Morales. "There's a little red dot right inside the laser. You put that red dot right on the car and it tells you the exact speed the car is going."

So speed trap or not, with the laser, the troopers see you before you see them.

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