Enforcing radar will save lives
A few comments about a recent letter sent by James Sikorski voicing his opposition to the proposed legislation to allow the use of radar by municipalities to enforce speed limits.
Sikorski made several statements concerning that legislation that were very one-sided. It’s interesting that he never mentions that the Pa. State Police use this tool for speed enforcement, and, to my knowledge, radar is used as an enforcement tool by state law enforcement officers in every state in our country.
What also wasn’t mentioned is that the other 49 states trust the local municipalities to use radar. Trying to find the most ridiculous excuse Sikorski lists, to not allow local police departments to use this tool, is a little difficult.
However, I would have to choose comparing local government using radar to Philadelphia using cameras at their intersections to catch red-light violators.
Sikorski claims that the speed limits are already under posted. The posted limit on most of the streets in Ebensburg is 25 mph. I can tell you the reaction that you would get from the citizens of this community when you tell them the limits will be raised to even 35 mph. Let alone 40 mph or more.
I served on the Ebensburg Borough Council for 20 years, 10 of those years as council president. I then served as mayor for the next 16 years, choosing not to run again in 2009. I know speed enforcement is difficult in residential areas.
Keep in mind this is where the kids play, people are pulling in and out of driveways, and crossing the street at mid-block to visit neighbors.
This is where we go to get away from the rigors of work and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere. Meanwhile, speed enforcement in a downtown business district is almost impossible with the devices that are permissible for municipalities.
I can’t tell you how many times that someone said to me “When are you going to do something about the speeding on my street? What are you going to do, wait until someone gets killed?”
I am sure that the councilors and mayors serving today hear the same thing.
Who must answer for this? It is not the legislators.
There are tools available — VASCAR and ENRAD for instance, neither of which are as accurate as radar. Yes, you can step up patrols in the areas where you receive complaints, and the areas more prone to accidents.
Police presence is a deterrent to speeding.
However, in most municipalities, budgets are tight. Few have the luxury of having more than one officer on duty at any one time. As important as traffic patrol is, there are multiple duties that every officer needs to address, every shift.
The Pa. League of Cities & Municipalities, The Pa. Association of Township Supervisors, and the State Boroughs Association have been lobbying for this legislation for many years.
They realize there is a tool out there that would make us all safer. Perhaps after this legislative session, that tool will be available to them.
All you need to do is drive the limit, or stay under that limit, and the use of that tool will not affect you, other than let you enjoy a much safer environment.
(The writer is a former council member and former mayor of Ebensburg Borough.)