Skipped Step Results In Mass. Police Writing 896 Illegal Speeding Tickets

It’s a pretty big case of “Ooops,” on the part of the Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation, which forgot to follow its own regulations when it determined the speed limit on a new stretch of road in Salem. Now, nearly 900 speeding tickets could be reversed — if the drivers are willing to go to court.

After receiving a $170 speeding ticket for allegedly driving 52 mph in a 35 mph zone, a local man pointed out that the Mass. DOT did not conduct a required traffic engineering study to determine an appropriate speed limit. This was enough to have the judge toss out the ticket.

Boston’s WBZ-TV got curious and looked into how many people had been illegally ticketed on that stretch of road. In 2010 and 2011, the station’s I-Team — led by someone with the completely rad name of Joe Shortsleeve — found 896 tickets handed out on just that stretch of road — a grand total of more than $175,000.

The Mass. DOT administrator admits that, legally speaking, the tickets handed out during the time in question are not legit. He’s apologized, but he’s not handing out any refunds just yet. The DOT says if you want your money back, you’ll have to take your case to court.