The California Vehicle Code has a long-held statutory definition for the literal term “Speed Trap” which helps to accurately describe this traffic enforcement tactic:
A “speed trap” is … (2) A particular section of a highway with a prima facie speed limit … if that prima facie speed limit is not justified by an engineering and traffic survey … and enforcement of the speed limit involves the use of radar or any other electronic device that measures the speed of moving objects. Cal. Veh. Code § 40802(a) (2011).
Commentators have suggested that in enacting their statutory prohibition against “Speed Traps,” the California Legislature was “motivated by a desire to eliminate clandestine methods of traffic enforcement designed to augment local revenues through exorbitant fines.” People v. Sullivan.