PA Bill Would Let Cops Use Radar to Capture Speeders

We're the only state that doesn't currently do so.

This is not happening in Pennsylvania.

This is not happening in Pennsylvania.

Here’s good news if you’re a speeder: Pennsylvania does’t do that much to slow you down —we’re the only state in the nation that doesn’t let local police use radar guns to capture speeders. (No, we didn’t know that either.)

Here’s the bad news for everybody else: Lots of people die in speed-related accidents. PennLive reports that the state saw 615 speed-related fatalities in 2012 — more than double the national average. (The report doesn’t say if that figure takes into account that Pennsylvania is one of the higher-population states. Still: That’s a lot.)

So legislators are considering — again — letting law enforcement officials in this state do what every other state does, and let officers use technology to deter and capture speeding motorists. (See the bill.)

Over at the Keystone Politics blog, Jon Geeting makes the case for the bill: “Catching more speeders will send a message, and it also raises more revenue, that’s even better. I’d much rather collect more money from people who break our traffic laws and endanger children than from sales and income taxes on ordinary working people. Nabbing more speeders and forestalling more local sales and income tax increases would be a win-win.”

But the bill is having a hard time attracting support in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Why? “Most of them think it’s going to be Barney Fife out there with a radar gun,” said Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty. There is also, apparently, the concern that small towns would turn speed limits into gold mines, slapping a fine on every out-of-towner who missed the speed limit signs on the edge of town. 

But the Pennsylvania State Mayors’ Association says that scenario is unlikely to play out: “ The notion that municipalities will use radar to raise revenue is an unfounded concern that has little basis in municipal reality,” the association says on its Radar Coalition page.

Despite this week’s activity, it will be awhile before a vote is taken. Rafferty said he expected to work through the summer lining up votes. (PennLive)