Written by Gregory Monte.
One of my earliest blog posts (April, 2019) discussed Pennsylvania’s “two-tiered” approach toward speed enforcement described in Title 75, Section 3368. This statute also specifies two categories of devices which can be used by the police :
- Electronic Devices (i.e. radar) only by the State Police
- Electrical/Mechanical Devices (i.e. stopwatch or sensors over a defined stretch of road) by any police officer.
If you are interested in understanding why Pennsylvania created these separate categories, I discuss some of the legislative history in two other blog posts:
Clarifying the “Tiers”
As far as the “tiers” are concerned, when I re-read my April post, I realized that I had incorrectly interpreted their application to speed limits under 55 mph. What follows is an important update and clarification.
Unlike most other states, Pennsylvania law does not allow police officers to issue speeding tickets if motorists are only driving marginally over the limit. Instead, a buffer is written into Title 75, Section 3368(c)(4). This buffer ranges from 6-10 mph depending on which device was used to measure the speed of a vehicle.
The 6 mph buffer applies no matter what device the cop is using:
“No person may be convicted upon evidence obtained through … [electronic or electrical speed devices] … unless the speed recorded is six or more miles per hour in excess of the legal speed limit.”
The 10 mph buffer only applies to electrical/mechanical speed devices:
“Furthermore, no person may be convicted upon evidence obtained through … [electrical/mechanical speed devices] … in an area where the legal speed limit is less than 55 miles per hour if the speed recorded is less than ten miles per hour in excess of the legal speed limit.”
Two Other Important Facts
- There is no buffer allowed in school or active work zones:
“This paragraph shall not apply to evidence obtained through … [electronic or electrical speed devices] … within a school zone or an active work zone.”
- Cops can still time you with their speedometers with no mph leeway allowed (however they must follow you for at least 3/10 of a mile):
“The rate of speed of any vehicle may be timed on any highway by a police officer using a motor vehicle equipped with a speedometer. In ascertaining the speed of a vehicle by the use of a speedometer, the speed shall be timed for a distance of not less than three-tenths of a mile.”
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