Radar to catch speeders passes PA Senate, heads to House

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Speed enforcement is now on the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ radar.

State Rep. Greg Rothman said, “We have way too many deaths on highways. Too many accidents.”

The bill would allow local police officers to use radar to enforce speed limits. It passed the state senate.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that doesn’t allow local police officers to use radar.

Lawmakers have tried to pass different versions of the bill into law for years with no success.

Rothman said, “For a long time state police were opposed to giving it to local municipalities. And also people want to make sure it’s not abused.”

Some people opposed to the bill said it’s just a way for municipalities to make more money and opens up the issue of speed traps.

James Sikorski Jr., the PA Advocate of the National Motorists Association, in part of a statement said, “Keep in mind that many speed traps occur where the speed limits change. When a limit goes down, people may not immediately slow down. When it rises, people speed up slightly before they get to the sign. This stuff is predatory. Signs are blocked by trucks, the limits change frequently, missing signs, etc.

Radar would encourage the issuance of more tickets, because it is easier and cheaper than some current technology.”

He also adds that speed limits are too low in areas of the state: “Basically, speed limits are supposed to be set to the 85th percentile free-flowing traffic speed. Sadly, this is almost NEVER done in PA. Proper limits promote safety, smooth traffic flow, and respect for the law and police. Low limits cause crashes, ticket safe drivers, cause road rage, needless delays, and mistrust of police and authority.”

Silver Spring Township Police Chief Chris Raubenstine said, “Everybody’s first fear is always that it’s going to be used as a revenue generator. That’s not what we’re out here to do.”

But police said radar is an easier and more efficient device than the technology they have now to keep the roads safe.

Raubenstine said, “Otherwise we’re leaving an officer behind to stay with equipment so the manpower cost is just cut in half minimally. And it’s a lot easier also for more
locations.”

Last year a drunk driver struck and killed a woman crossing Cumberland Boulevard in Camp Hill. Police believe he was driving more than twice the 35 mph speed limit.

Brett Miller, with the Cumberland Boulevard Improvement Task Force, said, “Had our police in Camp Hill borough had the use of radar and were able to crack down on the speeding here in this small town of only 8,000 people, we may not have had that fatality.”

With the passing of the bill, people who drive less than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit wouldn’t get points on their record.

Miller said, “They could enforce the 35 mile-per-hour speed limit much better and people would know that you don’t speed through Camp Hill borough anymore.”

Rothman said they may make a few tweaks to the bill in the House, but he’s hopeful the House will pass the bill.