Your view: Oppose radar/lidar for local police departments


I urge all state senators and representatives to vigorously oppose SB 279 and SB 251, which will allow local police departments to use radar and lidar. Enacting these bills will spawn a huge increase in speed traps in cash-strapped municipalities desperate for more money at the expense of real highway safety.

Ninety percent of the speed limits in Pennsylvania are posted between 8 and 16 miles per hour too low, according to a 1996 Federal Highway Administration study. This makes citing drivers for speeding like shooting fish in a barrel. Also, radar and lidar are notoriously inaccurate, frequently misidentifying the speeder and just as frequently generating an inaccurate reading.

The only reason for equipping local police with radar and lidar is to raise money, not for safety.

The primary objective of the enforcement of traffic laws must be to ensure the safe usage of highways and not to generate revenue. That starts with posting limits at the safest speed, which is the 85th percentile speed of free-flowing traffic. When that is done, the falsely ginned-up speeding problem goes away, freeing police departments to go after the truly dangerous drivers and not to levy unfair taxes on reasonable and prudent drivers.

Legislators and special interests are using urban legend to scare citizens into accepting robbery by technology. Vote no on SB 279 and SB 251.

Tom McCarey

National Motorists Association