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Letter Writer opposes Local Police Radar

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To LVC Editor,

Dear Pennsylvania Representatives and Concerned Drivers:

By any measure of what is right, SB 251, arming municipal police with RADAR guns, should be voted down.

Despite 30 years of technological innovations, radar still suffers from the same reliability and performance issues that have made it unacceptable as evidence in a court of law. A research study(http://www.motorists.org/other/Radar_Test_Presentation.pdf) states that radar cannot meet the requirements of the Daubert test, which is a set of standards trial judges use to determine whether or not expert testimony is based on valid scientific reasoning and methodology.

One of radar’s biggest downfalls: it can’t distinguish one vehicle from another.

In areas with correctly set 85th percentile* posted speed limits, you VERY RARELY find radar in use. In general, unless the limit is set at least 7 or 8 mph below the 85th percentile speeds – and more typically 10 or 12 mph below the 85th percentile speed, there are not enough “speeders” to make enforcement profitable.

Overall, the study further supports the conclusion that radar speed measurement is unreliable, easily misused and often abused for revenue purposes. Radar speed enforcement encourages policing for profit.

That’s exactly what the House and Senate Transportation Committees want to foist on Pennsylvania drivers by giving RADAR to local cops statewide.

There is no “speeding” problem, since only 3 – 5% of fatalities are caused by excessive speed, but there is a problem of highway engineering malpractice by local politicians who set speed limits too low to make it easy to write tickets to raise revenue, turning the police into tax collectors. With SB 251, tickets can go out at 6 mph over the speed limit.

Traffic laws fairly written and reasonably enforced is a foreign concept to officials like the Transportation Committee members, who believe that facts are nothing more than inconvenient truths.

RADAR cheerleaders can use all the flowery language they want, saying that RADAR isn’t for the money and we will be protected from abuse, but it is well established in Pennsylvania that SB 251 is for the express purpose to keep a stream of driver’s cash flowing into government. Emotion and intention seem to have become the principal determinants of government policy, rather than years of data produced by engineers and organizations who have no financial interest in the conclusions.

SB 251 should be voted down. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Tom McCarey Member, National Motorists Association
www.motorists.org

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