Chief's Corner

John R. Phoennik
Chief of Police

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Sep 24

Speeding issues challenge both the police and community

Posted on September 24, 2018 at 2:26 PM by Andrea Iglar

The South Fayette Township Police Department receives many calls and complaints throughout the year about speeding issues, which we try to address as much as possible as time and staffing permits.
I appreciate that speeding is an important public safety issue, but there are a few factors that people should try to understand about speeding enforcement.

Our officers are assigned to be in certain problem areas when they are out patrolling our 21 square miles, which include 329 streets and roadways. We prioritize the areas that we monitor for speeding based on traffic data collected from traffic accidents, radar speed signs and traffic volume. Data collected from our radar speed signs is used to calculate the compliance rate for speed. If the compliance rate is 90 percent or higher, there is not a speeding problem based on statistics.

South Fayette has several neighborhoods with only one entrance and one exit, so it is generally the residents who live there who are speeding. I understand this isn’t always the case, but it usually is in these types of neighborhoods.

Another factor is that people generally don’t speed when they see a police car sitting in or patrolling the area. Drivers see a police car and slow down, or a radar speed sign in the area causes them to slow down. After the police leave the area, drivers speed again.

In Pennsylvania, state law prohibits communities from installing stop signs for speed control and does not allow local municipalities to use radar for enforcement.

Our department receives requests from some neighborhoods for speed bumps to assist in slowing down traffic. Many people like speed bumps—but just not in front of their house. Some homeowners don’t like the accompanying signs that are required to be placed in their yard. Fire departments explain that speed bumps may slow down their response time, and township Public Works finds that they interfere with snow plowing. Speed bumps can also create liability issues for the township if it is determined that a speed bump causes an accident or leads to property damage. Some communities have speed bumps, but most don’t. I have spoken with several communities, and most are against speed bumps for the above reasons.

While speeding is an important safety issue, police must balance speeding enforcement with many other public safety issues. In 2017, our officers issued 637 traffic citations and stopped approximately 1,200 vehicles—in addition to answering approximately 5,500 calls for service including, but not limited to, domestic disturbances, deaths, thefts, burglaries and disorderly conduct.

We also receive state and federal grants for annual traffic safety programs such as Buckle Up PA, Click It or Ticket, an aggressive driving awareness campaign, the DUI Task Force and child safety seat inspections. Police also hosted a stationary DUI checkpoint on Route 50 in August.

Please call 9-1-1 if you identify a specific speeding violator. Police rely on citizens obtaining the type and color of a speeding car, and possibly a license plate, if police are not present. The South Fayette Police Department will continue to do its best to enforce all traffic violations throughout the community.


John R. Phoennik
Chief of Police
South Fayette Township


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