Pennsylvania State Police Begin Issuing Computer-Generated Traffic Citations

Jan 26, 2010, 10:00 ET from Pennsylvania State Police Department

Commissioner: New System Improves Efficiency, Safety

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania State Police now are using computer technology to issue electronic traffic citations, a step that Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski today said makes troopers more efficient and safer.

"The system cuts in half the amount of time a trooper needs to issue a citation, allowing the officer to get back on the road more quickly to resume patrol duties," Pawlowski said. "In addition, troopers no longer have to spend time transporting the citations to the local magisterial district judge; the citation information is transmitted electronically."

Pawlowski said the system enhances officer safety by reducing the time troopers remain in exposed and potentially dangerous situations along roadways while issuing citations.  

"Troopers are at increased risk whenever they are out of their patrol vehicles to issue a citation," he said.

Pawlowski said the new computer-generated traffic citations will be printed on legal-size thermal paper, which, he said, will help to eliminate any confusion that may have resulted from the handwritten, carbon copy forms used in the past.

The electronic citation system is part of the Pennsylvania State Police TraCS project, which stands for Traffic and Criminal Software. As part of the project, state police earlier developed computerized crash reports that are submitted to PennDOT.

Pawlowski said the department tested the citation system using pilot programs in several state police troop areas late last year.

"Feedback from the field has been positive," he said. "We estimate that this system could cut by half the 15 minutes typically required to issue a citation in the past."

Pawlowski noted that when a driver's license and registration information is entered into a patrol vehicle's computer, state and national databases are automatically checked to determine whether outstanding warrants exist for the driver or whether the vehicle has been reported stolen. The driver's license and registration data from the records check can then be automatically inserted into the traffic citation form.

As an added efficiency, the system sends the citation information electronically through the Pennsylvania Justice Network, or JNET, to the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts, which relays it to magisterial district justices. The information is sent directly from the system to the Philadelphia Traffic Court in appropriate cases.

In the future, Pawlowski said state police commanders can use the data to develop specific local enforcement programs.

"This is a valuable tool for targeting traffic law violators and making our roads safer for everyone," Pawlowski said.

Pawlowski said the TraCS system was implemented by state police late last week in all counties except Westmoreland County, where an update of a computer system used by magisterial district judges is taking place. The TraCS system will be used in Westmoreland County starting on Feb. 1.

For more information, visit or call 717-783-5556.

SOURCE Pennsylvania State Police Department