Trucks, Buses to be Barred From Using Radar Detectors
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Most truckers and bus drivers will be barred from using radar detectors in interstate travel beginning Jan. 19.
Cars are not affected because the Federal Highway Administration - which is to issue the rule Monday - only has regulatory powers over commercial vehicles.
″There’s no reason to have these devices except to evade the law,″ said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., chairman of the Senate transportation appropriations committee.
Lautenberg wrote a provision of the 1992 transportation spending bill asking the Federal Highway Administration to institute the ban.
The American Trucking Association, which represents 40,000 trucking companies, said it was pleased.
″We’d like to believe the regulation came about as a direct result of our work,″ said John Doyle, an association spokesman. ″There’s one reason to use a radar detector: to break the law. You’ll hear many other excuses, but none valid.″
But Todd Spencer, spokesman for Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association, which represents 21,000 truckers who operate 35,000 of the nation’s trucks, thinks the regulation is useless.
″We think it is a wholesale waste of time and effort on the part of government,″ Spencer said in a telephone interview from the association’s office in Grain Valley, Mo. ″Radar detectors are not factors in highway safety or highway accidents. They have never been shown to be, and no legitimate data exists to show a relationship between radar detectors and accidents.
″A far smarter thing for the government to do would be to simply give states the authority and the guidance to set speed limits that are related to highway design and traffic conditions,″ he said.
A 1992 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found 40 percent of tractor-trailers operating in seven Eastern states had radar detectors. On highways in Lautenberg’s heavily trafficked home state, the figure rose to 41 percent. The study also showed that half the trucks that ferry hazardous materials use radar detectors. Only 4 percent of passenger cars had them.
Radar detectors already are prohibited in Virginia and the District of Columbia. Connecticut earlier this year dropped its ban.