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No radar for local cops

| Sunday, June 8, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The ban on the use of radar for municipal traffic enforcement in Pennsylvania should continue. There is no epidemic crisis of speeding, only an epidemic of politicians seeking more money from safe drivers.

Speed is a cause of about 5 percent of accidents, according to the National Highway Safety Administration. Speeding as a cause of accidents in free-flowing traffic is rare, yet this is when most citations are written.

After 50 years of government propaganda and misinformation about highway safety, it's easy for our elected servants to declare we must give local police radar guns or everybody's going to die! In the end, the special interests profit from radar – radar manufacturers, politicians, police and the courts.

Posted speed limits are at the heart of this. What is the safe speed and who decides? Too often, they're set by politicians responding to citizen complaints, not engineering. A reasonable traffic limit is one in which the super majority of people obey. An engineering concept known as the 85th percentile very simply says that 85 out of 100 motor vehicles will normally travel at or below a speed which is reasonable and prudent.

But that makes the job of the police — to collect taxes for the government — very difficult.

The Highway Safety Administration found that 90 percent of posted speed limits are eight to 16 miles per hour too slow. Because uninformed and misled constituents complain about “speeders,” politicians push for arming local police with radar guns and keep limits too low. Unrealistic speed limits do not reduce accidents and may actually cause them.

Hunting down drivers with radar guns will not improve highway safety and unnecessary enforcement of too-low limits will foster contempt for the law. There is only one reason for radar — money. Call your legislators and tell them to keep the local ban on radar in Pennsylvania.

Tom McCarey

Berwyn, Chester County

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