The testing and possible implementation of photographic radar on the beltway will be a step in making our roads safer {"Radar Camera Set for Debut On Beltway," Metro, June 17}, as well as decreasing the frequent traffic delays that occur from unnecessary accidents.

There are claims that the photographic radar is an infringement on people's right to privacy. What about the 50,000 people who are killed annually and the more than 500,000 injured annually? Don't law-abiding drivers and their families have a right to a modicum of safety on the roads? The cameras will be used on public highways to help improve safety, not to photograph speeders in their bedrooms.

The ''Big Brother'' issue is merely a smoke screen for some of the real reasons certain people don't want photographic radar: some motorists feel that it is their inalienable right to drive as they please. This technology could result in an infringement upon their driving habits.

Further, driving accidents, of which one-third are felt to be speed-related, cost all of us about 74 billion dollars in economic losses annually. This cost is passed on to us in the higher medical, automobile and other insurance costs. About one-third of the judgments in these cases go the client's attorney.

A bill to use photographicuse radar in school zones was killed this year in Annapolis. The chairman of the committee is an attorney who handles such personal injury cases.

Photographic radar is certainly not the sole panacea to our traffic problems. Just as serious are tailgating, dangerous lane changes, red-light running etc., which should also be addressed with this new ''car war'' technology.

Now is the chance to make our roads a kinder and gentler place to drive. Let's not continue to make excuses for preventable tragedies.

PAUL M. GOLDBERG Rockville