A dispute over speeding citations may be brewing in Pennsylvania. However, it has nothing to do with speed cameras. 

The dispute centers on how often speed timing devices used by law enforcement are calibrated for accuracy.

Pennsylvania legislators are considering a bill to allow speed timing equipment to be calibrated once a year, instead of every 60 days. Local police in Pennsylvania do not use radar for speed enforcement.
 Instead, they use a digital stopwatch and other equipment that measures time and distance between painted lines on the roadway. 

"When a vehicle crosses that first line, you simply hit start. When the vehicle crosses the line the second time you stop the watch, and it calculates your speed," said Hermitage Deputy Chief Adam Piccirillo.

Hermitage police also have a similar timing device mounted in a traffic control cruiser and a third device that shoots a beam across the roadway, much like an automatic garage door opener. 

It's a different situation for Pennsylvania State Police, where they use radar. The radar device is calibrated once a year, but troopers also test it every time before they run radar.

"We test the radar each time.  It goes through a process and shows us that it's working properly,"  said Trooper Mark Hoehn of the Mercer PSP Station.

In both cases, the radar and timing equipment receive calibration certification forms from an independent testing company. 

"We have calibration sheets for every individual piece of equipment from the company that tested it, the date and the calibration," Piccirillo said.

Critics feel that once a year, calibration is not sufficient to ensure accuracy and want the state to require testing every two months.