The Legislature has just approved the limited use of photo radar to "shoot" speeders - capturing their disobedience on film. The cameras can only be used in school zones with a warning posted and in areas where there is a demonstrated safety need. Elected officials must justify the need.The high-tech radar clocks the speed of an oncoming vehicle, determines if it is exceeding the speed limit, then takes a photo. The photo shows the vehicle's front license plate and a clear picture of the driver. The vehicle's owner is traced and issued a citation by mail.
The town of Garland, Utah, began using the radar in November. Photo radar has reduced the average speed in a targeted school zone by 10 mph and town officials boast it saves police manpower.
Garland leases the service from Traffic Safety Technologies Inc. of Murray, which provides a certified radar instructor to operate the equipment. The operator would tes-tify as an expert at trial if the citation is challenged.
West Valley City, Sandy and Lay-ton police departments have experimented with the radar.
Calling the radar "an intrusive tool," Sen. Alarik Myrin, R-Alta-mont, led the effort to put limits on the radar's use.
"It presents a vigilante approach," Myrin said.
If Myrin had had his wishes, he would have prohibited the use of the radar entirely. But, he concedes, if the technology can improve safety - especially for schoolchildren - it may be worth trying.