Whats the deal with speed enforcement in PA?

LeftLaneInPA

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Sorry, I just saw this now.

I do a significant amount of driving in PA these days. I-80, I-70, Route 119/22, I-99. I know that only state police are allowed to use radar (and now LIDAR). What does this mean in practice? Do local police not typically do speed enforcement? I've heard stories of undercovers trailing you to clock speed?
LIDAR is only authorized for construction zones, and I just posted a story in the Mid-Atlantic forum that PennDOT chose to go with RedFlex (sighs) for construction zone speed enforcement. So probably no LIDAR. And they have to announce in advance where they're going to be running this construction zone enforcement.

PA Senate Bill 607 passed on June 26, 2019 by the Senate has been sent to the House. It would allow local use of Radar.
...
Google has let me down as I can't find out anything about what happened in the House other then it was taken up by the Transportation Committee.
Passed in the Senate. Still languishing in the Transportation Committee in the House where it will most likely die.

@soberbyker pretty much covered it. Locals can only use VASCAR (manpower intensive) or pacing. PA State Police is limited to K-band stationary radar. While they mostly stick to the highways, they can (and do) run radar on local roads as well.

Oddly enough, many of the bigger community's security departments are made up of guards who are sworn in as private police, and they can use radar/lidar. While any citations issued by guards (usually referred to as "Public Safety" to differentiate them from minimum-wage unarmed guards) don't have any legal authority, the community they represent are usually very aggressive in pursuing payment for these "citations" in civil court. The community administrations are quite up-front that the primary purpose of these citations is revenue collection.

State Police enforcement is not uniform. I've been paced by a Trooper on I-80 going 75 in a 50 MPH "safety zone" and they didn't even bother with a glance when they passed me. For example: the "safety zone" on I-80 going through the Stroudsburg area limits the speed to 50 MPH. Nobody, and I mean nobody, goes 50 MPH on I-80 in this part of town. The troopers from the local barracks don't even pretend to care. I've been told, straight to my face, from a PA State Trooper that if you actually do drive 50 MPH, they're going to assume you're up to no good and they're going to find a reason to pull you over.

As such, a good rule of thumb is just go flow-of-traffic. The locals know what you can and can't get away with.
 

thefrog1394

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Sorry, I just saw this now.



LIDAR is only authorized for construction zones, and I just posted a story in the Mid-Atlantic forum that PennDOT chose to go with RedFlex (sighs) for construction zone speed enforcement. So probably no LIDAR. And they have to announce in advance where they're going to be running this construction zone enforcement.


Passed in the Senate. Still languishing in the Transportation Committee in the House where it will most likely die.

@soberbyker pretty much covered it. Locals can only use VASCAR (manpower intensive) or pacing. PA State Police is limited to K-band stationary radar. While they mostly stick to the highways, they can (and do) run radar on local roads as well.

Oddly enough, many of the bigger community's security departments are made up of guards who are sworn in as private police, and they can use radar/lidar. While any citations issued by guards (usually referred to as "Public Safety" to differentiate them from minimum-wage unarmed guards) don't have any legal authority, the community they represent are usually very aggressive in pursuing payment for these "citations" in civil court. The community administrations are quite up-front that the primary purpose of these citations is revenue collection.

State Police enforcement is not uniform. I've been paced by a Trooper on I-80 going 75 in a 50 MPH "safety zone" and they didn't even bother with a glance when they passed me. For example: the "safety zone" on I-80 going through the Stroudsburg area limits the speed to 50 MPH. Nobody, and I mean nobody, goes 50 MPH on I-80 in this part of town. The troopers from the local barracks don't even pretend to care. I've been told, straight to my face, from a PA State Trooper that if you actually do drive 50 MPH, they're going to assume you're up to no good and they're going to find a reason to pull you over.

As such, a good rule of thumb is just go flow-of-traffic. The locals know what you can and can't get away with.
Very helpful. Thanks. Is RedFlex entirely camera based or is that MRCT? And interesting that LIDAR is not being added generally to the arsenal of state police and limited to construction zones.

I am generally a believer in going with the flow of traffic, but I do a lot of night driving, and so I'm often alone on the roads with the semi's and the occasional drunk driver going 10 below the limit haha. Although from what i'm gathering, a deer jumping out might be more likely than a speed trap at 1am. Unlike Ohio where its not at all crazy to see an officer shooting LIDAR or radar at pretty much any time of day from an interstate median turnaround.
 

LeftLaneInPA

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Very helpful. Thanks. Is RedFlex entirely camera based or is that MRCT?
I believe RedFlex is essentially a low-powered hard-to-detect K-band radar.
 

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soberbyker

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(click to expand and see entire post)

@soberbyker pretty much covered it. Locals can only use VASCAR (manpower intensive) or pacing. PA State Police is limited to K-band stationary radar. While they mostly stick to the highways, they can (and do) run radar on local roads as well.
ENRADD & ROBIC are also used by local police, although not as often as VASCAR. The state police will run RADAR on local roads where they (state police) are the only police the town has.

Oddly enough, many of the bigger community's security departments are made up of guards who are sworn in as private police, and they can use radar/lidar. While any citations issued by guards (usually referred to as "Public Safety" to differentiate them from minimum-wage unarmed guards) don't have any legal authority, the community they represent are usually very aggressive in pursuing payment for these "citations" in civil court. The community administrations are quite up-front that the primary purpose of these citations is revenue collection.
This is true only in "homeowner developments" where the entire neighborhood has to belong and pay a fee. Their roads are considered private roads. As you mentioned any citation holds no legal weight but they will harass the person who lives in the development if the cited person was visiting someone in the development. My father-in-law (RIP) lived in one and my R3 would always alert in their development. If one of these developments needed real police the PA state police would respond to a call, but not patrol the area.

State Police enforcement is not uniform. I've been paced by a Trooper on I-80 going 75 in a 50 MPH "safety zone" and they didn't even bother with a glance when they passed me. For example: the "safety zone" on I-80 going through the Stroudsburg area limits the speed to 50 MPH. Nobody, and I mean nobody, goes 50 MPH on I-80 in this part of town. The troopers from the local barracks don't even pretend to care. I've been told, straight to my face, from a PA State Trooper that if you actually do drive 50 MPH, they're going to assume you're up to no good and they're going to find a reason to pull you over.

As such, a good rule of thumb is just go flow-of-traffic. The locals know what you can and can't get away with.
Another thing to note here about PA, there are what I call cushions actually written into the law. For the types of enforcement locals can use they are by law not allowed to write a ticket for less than 10 mph over the limit. For RADAR the cushion is less than 6 mph.

(sorry about the odd quoting, couldn't figure out how to respond to individual portions of the post)
 
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The Mighty Four Banger

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I obviously cannot confirm who does it or where but:

ENRADD is basically automatic stationary VASCAR.

VASCAR can be used stationary as mentioned or it can be used in an aircraft. What not many people know is that mobile units can also use VASCAR. It’s a complicated practice and I’m not sure if any departments allow it but it is a real thing.
 

soberbyker

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I obviously cannot confirm who does it or where but:

ENRADD is basically automatic stationary VASCAR.

VASCAR can be used stationary as mentioned or it can be used in an aircraft. What not many people know is that mobile units can also use VASCAR. It’s a complicated practice and I’m not sure if any departments allow it but it is a real thing.

ENRADD, while the results are similar to VASCAR, involves infrared beams and a much shorter distance, it's a lot of equipment to set up on both sides of a road, whereas real VASCAR, has a unit normally mounted on the dash, flip a switch when your target hits the first line and another flip when it hits the second line and it computers the speed.

As for rolling VASCAR yes technically it can be done you have to filp the switches between two points that the distance in known and is set up in the VASCAR unit. All VASCAR does is measure speed between two points, but only when that distance is known ahead of time IIRC.

<--- video on ENRADD.

Bottom line; speed detection by local police in PA is rare because of the methods allowed to be used. That doesn't mean to let your guard down, just know it's not like any other state in the country, you actually have to be more alert.


.
 

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And with a narrower then anybody else +/- 8 MHz and 250M location, it is highly unlikely that that you could get a ticket from a LEO hiding in a location that has been locked out (unlike the wide open frequency range locked out by Uniden 70MHz and Escort 30 MHz).
You missed the most important part of this - the 1 to 1 relationship between signals and lockouts. For example, if you lock out a speed sign at 24.150, and later on an officer is parked behind the sign also shooting radar at 24.150, JBV1 will see that there are now two signals but only has one lockout stored and will alert! No other detector or lockout implementation can do this.
 

thefrog1394

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You missed the most important part of this - the 1 to 1 relationship between signals and lockouts. For example, if you lock out a speed sign at 24.150, and later on an officer is parked behind the sign also shooting radar at 24.150, JBV1 will see that there are now two signals but only has one lockout stored and will alert! No other detector or lockout implementation can do this.
Are you sure the Max 360c can't do this? It can represent multiple signals simultaneously on the display. I've never been in a situation where I could test something like this though.

And is the V1 physically capable of differentiating multiple signals on the same frequency? I don't really understand how this would work from an RF perspective.
 

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Are you sure the Max 360c can't do this? It can represent multiple signals simultaneously on the display. I've never been in a situation where I could test something like this though.

And is the V1 physically capable of differentiating multiple signals on the same frequency? I don't really understand how this would work from an RF perspective.
Yes, lockouts on the Max series are 30 MHz chunks and the detector will not alert to new signals within a lockout range.

And yes, the V1 can differentiate multiple signals at the same frequency. I have seen it many times. Note the detector is only reporting the frequency to the MHz (the frequencies could still be different), and the detector has direction and signal strength info as well.
 

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Late to this conversation, but two other tidbits I found in this forum over the past year or so (and I'm pretty sure they still apply)...
1) Park Rangers can use Ka, otherwise it's actually safe to disable that for less falses. (There are some relatively wide roads through Gettysburg National Park for example.)
2) Someone linked an article that said PSP aren't supposed to bother with < 10 over PSL. I don't know that I'd tempt them unless I was sure, but it's useful info.

Interesting about the RedFlex...I drive the length of I-78 a lot, and that's perpetually under construction. Must look to see what those devices look like so I can spot one (or hope to never see one, really). They must somehow shoot from behind? PA does not require/issue front plates.

EDIT: "summbitch" just found the linked article...sure enough, I-78. Lucky me. Must watch for this and see if the V1 picks it up and what it looks like. Will post in the general forum to see if anyone has a ramp-up recorded...

EDIT2: They actually say right in the FAQ that the vehicle has to be going "in excess of 11mph over the speed limit"...
 
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thefrog1394

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Late to this conversation, but two other tidbits I found in this forum over the past year or so (and I'm pretty sure they still apply)...
1) Park Rangers can use Ka, otherwise it's actually safe to disable that for less falses. (There are some relatively wide roads through Gettysburg National Park for example.)
2) Someone linked an article that said PSP aren't supposed to bother with < 10 over PSL. I don't know that I'd tempt them unless I was sure, but it's useful info.

Interesting about the RedFlex...I drive the length of I-78 a lot, and that's perpetually under construction. Must look to see what those devices look like so I can spot one (or hope to never see one, really). They must somehow shoot from behind? PA does not require/issue front plates.

EDIT: "summbitch" just found the linked article...sure enough, I-78. Lucky me. Must watch for this and see if the V1 picks it up and what it looks like. Will post in the general forum to see if anyone has a ramp-up recorded...

EDIT2: They actually say right in the FAQ that the vehicle has to be going "in excess of 11mph over the speed limit"...
I generally assume PSL+9 is safe on all highways. I got a few tickets and took it easy for a few years and with around 120k miles over 4 years I haven't had a single issue even without a radar detector (my 9500ix got too noisy, only just bought a 360c a few months ago) or jammers. I do try and slow down to +5 for speed traps though to be safe. And the reality is that +9 actual can be +15 speedometer indicated. With more and more states going to 70mph speed limits, its getting a lot harder to accidentally get into ticket speeds on the highway IMO. Or maybe I'm just getting old lol.

Those "construction" zones on the other hand... not looking forward to the PA redflex. Definitely report back if you get any personal experience when them on I-78.

EDIT: Ohio's speed cameras (DragonCam in consturction zones) are +11 minimum too I believe.
 
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LeftLaneInPA

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1) Park Rangers can use Ka, otherwise it's actually safe to disable that for less falses. (There are some relatively wide roads through Gettysburg National Park for example.)
I know I'm nitpicking, but just to clarify: Federal Park Rangers, not Pennsylvania ("DCNR") Park Rangers.

Also, fwiw, any speeding citations issued by a federal Park Ranger doesn't incur points on your driver's license. The downside is, if you want to challenge it, you have to go to the "local" federal District Court which could be a decent distance away.
 

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