Board of Supervisors adopts resolution supporting use of radar by local police

Date: February 8, 2018

At its Regular Meeting on February 5, the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution to support the passage and ratification of Pennsylvania Senate Bill 251 authorizing local police use of radar and lidar.

As the only state that prohibits local police from using radar to monitor traffic speed, Pennsylvania solely authorizes state troopers to use radar for this purpose. Introduced by Pennsylvania Senator Randy Vulakovich, a former law enforcement officer, SB 251 aims to change that.

Introduced late in 2017, the bill currently requires an affirmative vote by the Pa. House of Representatives Transportation Committee to proceed to the House floor for a full vote.

If passed, the bill would amend Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to further provide for speed timing devices, and permit municipal police officers to use radar to enforce the maximum speed limits established by the General Assembly.

This newest legislation will include a revenue cap on the amount of a money a municipality may keep from speeding tickets -- 20 percent of the municipality’s budget, as well as calibration standards for the use of radar guns. In addition, the legislation would require a municipality to adopt an ordinance allowing its police to use radar to monitor speed.

In addition to making Pennsylvania consistent with the 49 other states, the proposed legislation would provide for equal enforcement throughout the state by both local and state police.

The Supervisors address the need for equal enforcement in their resolution:

“Whereas, the inability of municipal police to use radar has resulted in uneven enforcement of maximum speed laws across Pennsylvania, as well as contributed to Pennsylvania’s distinction as the state with the worst record for speeding-related fatalities.”

Our state’s dismal speeding-related fatality record is based on statistics compiled for 2015 by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. During that year, Pennsylvania had the 4th highest number of speeding-related fatalities; the 2nd highest percentage of speeding-related fatalities to total fatalities, and – nationwide -- the 2nd highest number of speeding-related fatalities on local roads.

Not only is radar the safest, most economical, and most accurate speed-timing device available, but first and foremost, it helps police officers save lives.

Greater enforcement of speed limits helps keep drivers, passengers, and pedestrians safe.

Currently, radar enforcement allows citations to be issued when the driver is in excess of 6 miles per hour above the posted speed limit or in excess of 10 miles per hour in a less than 55 miles per hour zone. School and active work zones have no overage requirement for citations to be issued.

For more information about the proposed legislation and the need to permit local police to use radar, visit The Radar Coalition of the Pennsylvania State Mayors’ Association.

2018-4: Local Police Use of Radar and Lidar

This legislation is supported by the “Coalition to Eliminate the Prohibition Against Municipal Police Using Radar” -- the PA Chiefs of Police Association, PA Municipal League, Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, PA Association of Township Commissioners, PA State Association of Township Supervisors, PA State Mayors Association and Bike Pittsburgh.