Expanded speed radar use bill fails in Mississippi

| 3/13/2006

An effort to allow sheriff’s deputes in Mississippi to use speed radar has died.

The bill remained in the House Transportation Committee at the deadline for Senate bills to advance to the full House. The Senate had approved it in February.

Sponsored by Sen. Gary Tollison, D-Oxford, the measure – SB2442 – sought to set up a two-year pilot program that would permit sheriffs in 28 counties throughout the state to use radar to enforce speed limits on rural roads.

Currently, Mississippi restricts the use of radar-speed-detection equipment to the Mississippi Highway Patrol and city police departments. Cities with populations less than 2,000 are prohibited from using radar on their public streets while cities of more than 15,000 can use radar on federal highways within their boundaries.

Supporters say the use of radar would help in places where the population is growing outside city limits. Opponents counter that the enforcement tool could be used to set up speed traps and rake in revenue from tickets.

Counties included in the pilot program were: Adams, Coahoma, Copiah, Clay, DeSoto, Harrison, Hinds, Jackson, Forrest, Jones, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lee, Leflore, Lafayette, Lowndes, Madison, Neshoba, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Pearl River, Pike, Quitman, Rankin, Tunica, Warren, Washington and Winston.

House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Miles, D-Fulton, said he didn’t bring the radar bill out of the committee because he didn’t believe it would pass the House.

“No chairman wants to bring a bill to the floor that he doesn’t think is going to pass,” Miles told The Clarion-Ledger.