Local Pennsylvania police radar
Pennsylvania State Police are permitted to use radar, but local police are not due to current legislation.

Pennsylvania Remains Only State Without Local Police Radar

With speed-related deaths up across the state, local Pennsylvania law enforcement wants radar to combat the ongoing problem.

Speed-related deaths are a problem in the state of Pennsylvania.

One of the best ways to combat speeding is the use of radar guns by police, but thanks to current state law, local police in Pennsylvania are not permitted to use radar.

While state police are able to use radar, currently, Pennsylvania is the only state in the U.S. that does not allow its local law enforcement to use radar.

What is the result of the current radar legislation? According to PennLive.com:

The number of speed-related fatalities that occurred statewide in 2012, the most recent year statistics are available, was 615, which is more than double the national average, 305. Two-thirds of those fatalities occurred on local roadways, said Tom King, chief of State College Police Department and president of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.

So why the ban on radar? PennLive.com reported that senators and local representatives feel that the departments will misuse radar as a “revenue enhancer.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that there’s nothing we could do to promote traffic safety that would be better than giving [local police] radar and I’m totally for it,” Noonan said. “… If we found some municipality was abusing this privilege, I don’t think it would be very difficult for us to go back and remedy that very quickly.”

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  • LinuxGuy

    These bills do not require speed limits to be posted at the 85th percentile free-flowing traffic speed. Also do not require a realistic cushion before ticketing begins. The PA roads are the safest ever according to PennDOT. Cash cow=radar!

    Check out the National Motorists Association.

  • Matt

    How many of those fatalities were on state highways (where state police can and do use radar/lidar to catch speeders)? I have a feeling most of those fatalities were probably on highways, where this law would not make a difference. I don’t think most people are concerned about the fine amount, but about the potential for cash strapped local municipalities to issue citations to people traveling 32 mph in a 25 mph zone.

    • HonorAboveAll

      I work in PA for a municipal PD with approximately 30 officers. My township patrols the state highways within our jurisdiction, as well as the local roads. While we do have many serious crashes on the 55mph highways, the majority of fatal crashes are on 35mph roadways. People tend to watch their speed on the 55mph roadways due to the fear of getting a ticket (from PSP or us). It’s the other roadways that are harder to enforce. While we do have the ENRADD, it takes time to set up and break down, plus it’s been run over or even stolen a few times. Radar would alleviate these problems.

      Let the municipal PDs use radar, like every other state; if a podunk PD is abusing their privilege, punish the individual, not everyone else!

  • Tom McGowen

    What does the enforcement of the speed law have to do with the amount of the citation? The police didnt set the fine, the PA General Assembly set the fine. This issue is strictly about enforcing the law. If the General Assembly is concerned about the fine/cost, the one THEY SET AND RAISE, then they can simply amend the fine schedule and reduce the costs of the speeding citation. To take the issue and turn it into some kind of blame game against the police is silly and I can see right through it. Obey the speed law, give the local police radar and lidar. They use it in 49 other states and they use it in other countries. PA is no exception.