Mississippi lawmaker stands firm in opposition to speed radar use The battle of who gets to use speed radar to write tickets is raging on in Mississippi.
State Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, is among those who has been vocal about it. Moak has a problem extending the use of speed radar to sheriffs’ deputies. As expanded speed radar use continues to be sought in that state, Moak told Land Line he remains opposed to those efforts because “the state already allows the Highway Patrol to leave state roads and assist local agencies.”
Still, there are multiple bills in the Mississippi Legislature that would expand the use of radar to sheriff’s deputies in the state. Another bill is intended to rein in certain speed traps.
State law now restricts the use of speed radar detection equipment to the Mississippi Highway Patrol and city police departments. Cities with populations of fewer than 2,000 are prohibited from using radar on their public streets while populations of more than 15,000 can use radar on federal highways within their boundaries.
Efforts to expand radar use in the state historically have struggled as opponents say the enforcement tool could be used to set up speed traps and rake in revenue from tickets.
That isn’t good enough for supporters of expanding the use of radar. They say it would help curb speeding and save lives in places where the population is growing outside city limits.
Multiple bills would give all county sheriffs the green light to use radar detection devices.
Sen. Billy Hudson, R-Purvis, is the sponsor of one of the bills – SB2188 – to allow sheriffs in all of the state’s 82 counties to use radar on certain roads. Sheriffs could use the devices only on public streets, roads and highways of the county lying outside the limits of municipalities.
A similar bill by Sen. Lee Yancey, R-Brandon, would give sheriffs the green light to use radar detection devices, under certain circumstances. SB2185 would permit sheriffs to use the devices only on public streets, roads and highways lying outside the limits of municipalities authorized to use radar. Radar use also would be allowed by sheriffs in cities that don’t authorize use of the enforcement tool.
Another measure – SB2186 – would authorize all law enforcement to use radar on local roads.
A separate bill would allow sheriffs to use radar enforcement based on the county’s population. SB2187 would limit radar use to sheriffs in counties with at least 200,000 people.
The proposals for radar use don’t end there. Another bill – HB15 – would authorize a pilot program in Jackson County. Up to 20 devices would be used for two years to determine the effect of the devices on speeding.
Another bill would take a slightly different route to authorize radar in Jackson County. HB332 would permit the county sheriff to use the enforcement tool if the county were to approve funds for equipment.
While there are many efforts to expand the use of radar throughout the state, one bill would place additional limits on some speed enforcement.
Moak has introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of radar on state or federal highways within 1,000 feet of where the posted limit is reduced by 10 mph or more.
He said the bill – HB379 – would help put a stop to blatant attempts to generate revenue through issuing speeding tickets.
“My bill won’t allow use of radar within a certain area of a marked reduction of speed. That will allow a motorist an opportunity to slow their vehicle before they’re absolutely caught for a speeding violation,” Moak said.
The bills are all in committee.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Mississippi, click here.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
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