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PHOTO RADAR SAFE AND EFFECTIVE

One might wonder what motivated Michael S. Tingey's letter against photo-radar to the Readers' Forum, Aug. 20, "after 22 years in the insurance business." Does he want more car crashes in Sandy in order to increase or maintain insurance business?

He and other insurance people (and anyone with an interest in traffic safety) ought to subscribe to Status Report, the free monthly news letter of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Virginia research facility impartially determines and publishes the facts as to what works and what doesn't regarding highway safety. The IIHS not only strongly favors photo radar, citing successful and substantial crash reductions in many countries and selected sites in the United States, it also recommends extensive use of photo radar so that police time and efforts can be utilized in other needed areas such as in combating drinking drivers.Photo radar is a far more efficient, effective and safer method of speed control compared to conventional enforcement methods. It is badly needed in many places in the state of Utah particularly on crowded interstates where other types of speed enforcement are very dangerous and expensive.

According to vehicle crash figures from West Valley City, there has been a dramatic reduction in vehicle crashes since the inception of the use of photo radar.

By late 1994 West Valley officials reported that some of their citizens were petitioning for expanded use of photo radar to their neighborhoods.

Mr. Tingey asserts that speed limits are set below what the streets were designed for (presumably, so that political subdivisions can profit from enforcement). Highways and streets are not designed or engineered for any particular speed.

Within parameters set by the legislature, speed limits on all but interstate highways are presently and for many decades have been set according to the speeds of vehicles during uncrowded drive times. Speed differentials among vehicles are narrowest when speed signs are posted at or close to the 85th percentile.

Mr. Tingey is correct in that insurance companies increase premiums for speeding citations, which are often a burden to families that may be strapped for funds. (But does anyone have data to show that this is the reason that people drop their insurance coverage?)

This action is unreasonable on the part of insurance companies in the case of most drivers and should be prohibited by law. Insurance surcharges for citations should be based on driving points accumulated rather than a single speeding or similar citation.

H. Wayne Overson

Weber State University