Although signs throughout New York State warn, “State Police aircraft used in speed enforcement,” they are rarely used these days.
In fact, all of you summertime speeders can take solace in the fact that the New York State Police have not issued a single NY speeding fine in this manner since 2005.
Police Sergeant Kern Swoboda cautioned, “It hasn’t been entirely eliminated … We still have the airplanes.”
However, in a time of great economic distress, New York State simply lacks the financial resources to keep these planes in the air to catch speeders.
Aside from the expense of fueling and using the planes, the cost of even launching them would not be economically prudent.
Likewise, many other states have also scaled back their use of aerial traffic enforcement due to massive budget cuts and concerns about cost-effectiveness.
Think about it: aerial enforcement programs require a plane, a pilot, a spotter to time vehicles as they travel between lines painted on the road, and several patrol cars to pull people over and issue tickets.
According to Mr. Swoboda, “That ain’t cheap.”
Moreover, modern-day technology allows for a trooper traveling on the highway to use carefully crafted lasers to obtain speed readings over very long distances and in heavy traffic, two circumstances where aircrafts used to be superior but no longer are.
“So what better way to do it than have three guys at a U-turn?” Swoboda explained. “We found that it was far more efficient, and a lot less expensive.”
Similarly, California, Virginia, and Washington State have all scaled back their aerial traffic enforcement.
However, if you plan on traveling to Ohio or Florida in the near future, be on the lookout. They still fly a fair amount of planes in an attempt to spot speeders.