DIXIE INN – If caught speeding in the residential areas of the Village of Dixie Inn, violators will now pay heftier fines.
Dixie Inn Police Chief Jim Edwards says speeding fines for those areas have doubled to try deter motorists from flying through their neighborhoods.
“We went to the council and got them to amend our ordinance to double our speeding fines on our residential streets,” he said. “Other places are looking at doubling their fines in order to get people to slow down and give them incentive not to speed. For example, a $120 fine is now $240.”
Speed limit violations will now cost $150, with a $2 increment increase for each additional mile over the speed limit, according to Ordinance 109-A. The ordinance gives Mayor Ava Nell McWhorter or the presiding court magistrate authorization to double the speeding fines if they occur on residential streets.
The amended ordinance went into effect immediately following its adoption, Monday, Jan. 11.
Edwards made it clear that fines for state highways, such as Highways 80 and 371, which intersect in Dixie Inn, will not change.
“The fines are the same as the city streets, but they will not double,” he said. “If you get stopped on Highway 80 for speeding and you get a ticket for $140, then it’s $140. Whereas, if you get stopped on a residential street, and the ticket is $140, it will jump to $280.”
The updated scale Dixie Inn uses for fines shows a ticket for speeding is $150. If someone is ticketed for driving five miles over the speed limit, the fine will be $160, and so on.
McWhorter and Edwards say this has nothing to do with increasing their revenue – it’s a safety issue, one Edwards, the mayor and board of aldermen have been discussing for some time.
“I feel like this may be the way to make driving safer here,” she said. “We do have a lot of people who cut through our residential part of town to access I-20 and going up to Cotton Valley. It’s dangerous because there are a lot of children out there. We hope it will cut down on speeding in the main areas also.”
Edwards says motorists cut through the village streets to avoid the traffic lights at the intersection of Highways 80 and 371.
As a courtesy, the village has posted notices on its speed limit signs to bring awareness to motorists about the changes in their speeding fines.
“We’ve only got three or four streets, but people are just flying up and down these streets,” Edwards said. “This is strictly a safety issue, and we’re hoping they’ll slow down knowing the fines have been doubled.”