June 28, 2022
In 2020 alone, 459 people needlessly died due to speeding. The numbers are clear. Traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania increased by 16 percent, in spite of the pandemic. Sadly, additionally in 2020, speed related fatalities made up 41 percent of all traffic fatalities in our state. However, these numbers only tell a small part of the story.
A decade ago, one of the traffic fatalities in the City of York was a prominent business leader. He was struck by a speeding tractor trailer that plowed through a busy intersection while he proceeded to make a legal left hand turn. His vehicle was totaled and pushed several hundred feet following impact. He was a loving husband and father of two daughters. His death and hundreds more each year are totally preventable. Every victim of speeding has a story. A life that was taken too soon. His face will forever be etched in my mind.
Local elected officials, including mayors, councilmembers, commissioners, supervisors and municipal managers hear regularly from constituents about speeding in their neighborhoods. Local police are prohibited by state law from using radar and LIDAR for speed enforcement. Only the state police may use this technology. Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that relegates municipal police to out-of-date speed timing technology.
A bill before the state House of Representatives would change that. House Bill 606 authorizes local police to use radar with a long list of motorist protections – adoption of a local ordinance, signage, training for police officers, an initial warning period, and revenue limitations.
Speaking of revenue, regardless of what rumor you may hear, local governments would only receive $17 to $21 per speeding ticket. Revenue generation is next to impossible. Those that claim otherwise clearly have no understanding of how traffic citations and fines are broken down presently.
So if you are fed up with speeders in your neighborhood, on your street, in your community, let your House member know that you support House Bill 606 by giving local police use of radar. None of us like getting tickets but none of us deserve being the victims of excessive speed either. Let’s get Pennsylvania out of the dark ages and support our local police by getting this done once and for all.
John S. Brenner