Utah lawmakers consider return of photo radar

Feb 24, 2023, 7:11 PM | Updated: 8:54 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A new bill before the legislature would bring photo radar back to Utah as speeding in construction and school zones becomes a growing safety concern.

Senate bill 105 would change certain restrictions on using photo radar for traffic enforcement. That means if the photo radar catches you speeding, the photo cop can issue a ticket.

If approved, SB105 would put photo radar in place again after the legislature banned it in 1996.

“It works and I think if we can help train the public to work we can help them be better drivers. We really don’t want to issue tickets. I don’t think anyone wants that, we want to have them slow down because there may be the risk of receiving a ticket,” bill sponsor Senator Jerry Stevenson, R-Davis County said.

He said he would launch a pilot program. During the first year cop technology would be placed in a handful of school construction zones with signs notifying drivers that there will be electronic speed detectors ahead.

In order for the technology to work, facial recognition would be used and that’s something that concerns many senators.

“I’m always very careful when there’s any kind of facial recognition. I know that this is more of identifying who was actually driving,” said Senator Karen Kwan, D-Murray.

Warnings would be issued for anyone speeding. A year’s worth of data would be analyzed and the bill revisited.

“I think you would probably yield a lot of results after that sign went up,” Senator Kathleen Riebe, D-Cotton Wood Heights said. “I support this bill. I think that we should look at this and understand how we can support our communities to work in a safe environment, and I’m all for collecting data.”

Senator Wayne Harper chairs the Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee. He said he will likely vote no on the bill. HB105 moves to the Senate floor next.

Law enforcement has reported a growing number of bold speeders over the past few years.

Utah drivers admit to speeding over 100 mph more than any other drivers, according to a recent national survey. That does not surprise the Utah Highway Patrol, which pulls over more lead-footed drivers all the time.

Statistics show the number of Utah drivers pulled over for going more than 100 mph has nearly doubled in four years. State troopers said the problem keeps growing in spite of steeper fines.

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Utah lawmakers consider return of photo radar