I was pleased to read in The Post last Sunday that the Virginia State Police are prepared to employ advanced technology to combat those speeders who are menacing our safety on the Beltway {Metro}. But the photo-radar system as described could be significantly improved.

I propose that state governments mandate that license numbers be painted on the side of automobiles as bar codes. When a speeder is detected, a laser scanner could read the bar code and then a computer could calculate the appropriate fine and automatically debit the bank account of the offender. This would avoid the paperwork and delays associated with mailing notices.

If this technology proves successful with speeders, it could be adapted for use against the illegal drug trade. We could place video cameras on each corner of the city and hire people to scan monitors for suspicious activities. Using a zoom lens, these "crime prevention monitors" could note the number on their clothing. The police could then be dispatched to the suspect's home for questioning.

Now some may argue that drug dealers are wily and will quickly learn not to conduct business on the street corners. Perhaps, but technology is flexible. Cameras could easily be installed in homes and offices as well as on the street corners. A ubiquitous monitoring system would provide the added bonus of discovering and preventing other illegal activities such as flag burning.

As technology advances, good citizens must be willing to sacrifice a small amount of personal liberty to protect those ideals that we cherish, such as the 55 mph speed limit.

DAVID A. ROSSI Washington