The Pennsylvania Radar Coalition
|Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association||Fraternal Order of Police -Pennsylvania State Lodge||Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association|
|Pennsylvania Municipal League||Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs||Pennsylvania State Association of Township Commissioners|
|Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors||Pennsylvania State Mayors’ Association|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TO NEWS/CITY DESK EDITOR
CONTACT: Amy Sturges, Pennsylvania Municipal League, 717-236-9469, ext. *225, email@example.com
Ron Grutza, Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, 717-236-9526, ext. 1044, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Bohn, Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, 717-236-1059, email@example.com
RADAR COALITION CALLS ON HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO PASS HOUSE BILL 606 – LOCAL USE OF RADAR
Harrisburg, PA (March 23, 2022) – The Radar Coalition held a press conference calling upon the House of Representative to pass House Bill 606 authorizing the local use of radar. The Coalition – represented by the Pennsylvania Municipal League, Pennsylvania State Association of Township Commissioners, Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, Pennsylvania State Mayors’ Association, and the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association – highlighted increasing speed-related fatalities and the dwindling availability of speed timing equipment for local police to enforce speed limits as communities in the Commonwealth face the “perfect storm” public safety crisis.
“Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation that prohibits municipalities from using radar as a speed timing device. More than ever, this prohibition is impacting public safety creating a “perfect storm” on our local roads,” stated Mayor Danene Sorace of Lancaster City, President of the PA Municipal League, and representative of the PA State Mayors’ Association.
“Speeding is in the top three complaints that I hear almost on a daily basis from residents across the City of Lancaster. Within the City of Lancaster, there is one speed limit – it is 25 miles per hour. And yet routinely our residents see cars traveling at much higher rates of speed,” said Mayor Danene Sorace. “We are engaged in a Vision Zero, which seeks to eliminate fatalities and reduce serious accidents in the City of Lancaster, and a key component to achieving Vision Zero is enforcement. We need real enforcement tools and that’s what we are here to talk about today.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released its 2020 annual traffic crash data revealing the total number of fatalities increased by 6.9% to a total number of 38,824 lives, the most recorded since 2007. In 2020, the total number of fatalities increased in Pennsylvania by 6% and speeding related fatalities increased by 16%. Speeding related fatalities make up around 41% of all traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania. “These figures would normally cause concern, but in a year such as 2020 that saw motorists driving significantly less due to the pandemic – 17% less – it makes these statistics even more troubling. With more motorists losing their lives due to speeding in Pennsylvania, our communities need action from Harrisburg,” said Ron Grutza, Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs at the PA State Association of Boroughs.
In addition to the increase of speed-related fatalities, access to non-radar speed timing devices is declining. “Municipal law enforcement agencies are now facing a crucial juncture. We are now faced with the very real future of the current out-of-date speed timing devices, such as VASCAR-plus, ENRADD and VSPEC being phased out of production,” revealed Garth Warner, Chief of Police, Derry Township. There are only three PennDOT approved non-radar technologies available to municipal police, one being a stop watch. This very unsettling development will further hinder local law enforcement operations and will negatively impact public safety. Chief Garner continued, “manufacturers are attempting to produce other devices, but they are often not compatible with newer police vehicles. The purchase of these newer devices is expensive and cannot be subsidized by grant monies made available through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The devices for which grant monies are available to assist purchasing are radar and LIDAR.”
The commonsense solution is to provide our local police with the necessary tools to keep the public safe, and that tool is radar. House Bill 606 has been stalled in the House since the spring of 2021 where it sits in the House Appropriations Committee awaiting consideration. Scott Bohn, Executive Director of the PA Chiefs of Police Association called for the bill to finally pass the House, as a similar bill “was passed in the Pennsylvania Senate a year ago by near unanimous vote – I believe there was only one negative vote.” Chief Bohn asked for House Bill 606 to be brought up for consideration in the House Appropriations Committee so it can go to the House Floor for a final vote, and he also reiterated the point that the goal is to save lives.
Sam Valenza, President of the PA State Association of Township Commissioners stated, “for many years we have heard a common refrain associated with the local use of radar — local governments will use radar as a tool to generate revenue. This criticism is inaccurate and unfounded for several reasons.” House Bill 606 provides for motorist protections, including a warning period, a set minimum of speed over the limit to warrant a citation, and municipalities would be required to remit local fine monies equaling 10% or more of a municipal budget to PennDOT. Additionally, Title 71, Section 2001 of the Pennsylvania Statutes makes it illegal for local governments to mandate or suggest that police officers issue a certain number of tickets. “Arguing that radar will be used as a local revenue tool doesn’t add up, bringing us back to its intended use of regulating speed for public safety,” Valenza concluded.
It is time that we provide our local police with the proper and modern tools to continue their noble work protecting our communities. With both the increase of speed-related fatalities in Pennsylvania and the dwindling number of non-radar speed timing devices, the “perfect storm” public safety crisis looms over the Commonwealth. The General Assembly must act to authorize the local use of radar.
“One of the most common complaints and request for services from our residents is to address speeding issues throughout our township,” Chief Garner added. “With the now limited and disappearing options available to address these complaints and continued stalling by our elected state officials, we are left to deal with the continued complaints and increase in unsafe driving in our communities. These communities need politicians to listen to them, address their needs and concerns, and most of all, protect them. They can do this by getting House Bill 606 passed in Pennsylvania.”
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The Radar Coalition – the Pennsylvania State Mayors’ Association (PSMA) Website
Radar Coalition Letter to the House of Representatives – March 9, 2022
House Bill 606 Motorist Protections
House Bill 606
House Bill 606 Legislative History
Title 71, Section 2001 – Prohibiting Ticket Quotas
Press Conference Recording