Radar is acknowledged by law enforcement personnel as the safest, most accurate and efficient speed timing device. Despite this fact, Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that does not allow for the local use of radar. As a result, speeding on neighborhood roads is consistently the most common concern voiced by our constituents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 2020 traffic crash data, of the 1,129 traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania, 41% were found to be speed-related fatalities. These figures would normally cause concern, but in a year that saw motorists driving significantly less due to the pandemic, it makes these statistics even more troubling. Local use of radar would help to curtail these preventable losses of life.
In addition to the high number of speed-related fatalities, the non-radar speed timing devices and technology used by local police are becoming more and more obsolete. There are only three PennDOT approved non-radar technologies available to municipal police, one being a stop watch. Companies producing these devices are going out of business or ceasing production, as there is very little demand for these products outside of Pennsylvania. Additionally, many non-radar speed timing devices are not compatible with the computer systems in new police vehicle models.
If the General Assembly does not act now, a stop watch may soon be the only speed timing device available to our local police officers. This very unsettling development has and will continue to hinder local law enforcement operations within across the Commonwealth and further endanger public safety.
Representative Rothman’s local use of radar measure, House Bill 606, has been stalled in the House Appropriations Committee for over a year. The General Assembly must act now to authorize the local use of radar, the first step being for House Leadership to bring House Bill 606 to the Floor for final passage.