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Letter Writer warns of PA Senate Bills 172 and 251

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To All Pennsylvania Drivers:

This letter is a speed limit tutorial.

Tell your Senator and Representative to VOTE NO on PA Senate Bill 172, authorizing speed cameras in work zones and VOTE NO on PA Senate Bill 251, giving RADAR to municipal police departments.

The object of speed cameras and RADAR is not the facilitation of safe, efficient travel but rather the issuance of as many tickets as possible.

First, officials impose deliberately unrealistic, under-posted speed limits on most roads in order to frustrate and criminalize virtually all drivers all the time. To make driving an unpleasant, slow-motion grind.

The law in Pennsylvania requires that posted speed limits be set according to something called the “85th percentile” standard. This is a traffic safety engineering term used to describe the speed at or below which most drivers (85 percent of them, by observation) normally operate on any given road under ideal conditions (daylight, dry, etc.) when these drivers are left free to drive at a pace that seems reasonable and prudent to them. The idea being that most people are neither suicidal nor reckless; that while they want to get where they’re going in good time, they also want to avoid crashing. Thus, a natural balance is struck – one that almost all drivers on a given road seem to hew to naturally, without external coercion.

Speed camera and RADAR proponents tell you and the public that those 85 percenters are “dangerous speeders” – but the fact is that when speed limits comport with the measured 85th Percentile Speed, traffic flows more smoothly, and the number of accidents decreases.

Driving is made safer.

No money is raised, however, and that is unacceptable to the special interests. They want money. They want all the money they can get. And what better way to get it than to criminalize safe drivers and then give them a ticket. It is nothing but a racket that has nothing to do with anyone’s safety.

SB 172 and SB 251 are only for money, not for safety. They should be thrown into the ash heap. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Tom McCarey

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