Panel kills proposed repeal of radar detector ban
By LARRY O'DELL
Associated Press Writer
January 26, 2006
RICHMOND, Va. -- A legislative committee on Thursday rejected a bill that would have ended Virginia's distinction as the only state that bans radar detectors.
Del. Joe May, R-Loudoun, told the House Transportation Committee there is no solid evidence that prohibiting radar detectors improves highway safety. To the contrary, he said drivers who are paying attention to their radar detector tend to be more alert.
Ben Lacy, a lobbyist for the National Motorists Association, supported May's bill.
"Speeders are going to speed whether they have a radar detector or not," he said.
May also said the ban makes Virginia inhospitable to drivers from other states--a situation that he said should be rectified before next year's expected tourist influx for the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.
But representatives of the Virginia State Police, the insurance industry and the Virginia Sheriffs Association spoke against the bill, arguing that it would make the highways more dangerous and drive up insurance rates by increasing the number of car crashes.
State Police Capt. Steve Chumley said a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study showed people are more likely to speed if they have a radar detector.
John Jones, executive director of the sheriff's organization, suggested the ban is a matter of common sense.
"The only reason you have a radar detector is to break the law," he said.
The committee voted 11-4 to kill the bill.
On an unrecorded voice vote, the panel also rejected legislation to eliminate the requirement that motorists display a license plate on the front of their vehicle as well as the rear. Del. Mark Cole, R-Spotsylvania, said his bill would save the state nearly $2 million a year.
Del. Charles W. "Bill" Carrico Sr., R-Grayson and a retired state trooper, said police officers find the front license plate helpful when they are looking for a criminal suspect.