No Formal Standards

After grumbling from some circles, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Administration set up some guidelines for traffic radar units. The NMA has contacted me, to let me know that NHTSA finally did adopt minimum standards for traffic radar devices, but it wasn”t until 1994, about 15 years after it was first asked to. No word if Canada follows these same standards. In 1984 the International Association of Chiefs of Police published standards that manufacturers would have to submit too. In response the manufacturers formed a trade organization and refused to submit their products for testing and came up with their own standards, which they refuse to make public. These actions speak volumes on how manufacturers feel about the accuracy and the reliability of their products.

Profit Motive

Police organizations do not purchase photo radar units. The units are leased from the manufactures. In most cases the company is also responsible for maintenance of the units, developing the film and issuing the summons to the “offender”. For this service. the manufacturers receive a kickback from the government in the form of a percentage of the money collected in fines. These payments range from 5 to 20% depending on whether the fines are processed by the manufacturers as well. As such there is very little incentive for the manufacturers to assure the accuracy of their photo radar units.