By Damon Dallah
It seems each year our government comes up with a new scheme to catch speeding drivers.
Currently, you can get caught speeding with any of the following methods:
1. Stationary Radar
By far, the most popular method of speed detection is radar. Radar stands for RAdio Detection And Ranging. Typically, the officer hides out of sight on the side of the road with a hand-held radar gun and patiently awaits your arrival. When he sees you, (usually way before you see him) he points and shoots.
A radio wave is sent through the air, bounces off of your vehicle and back to the officer's radar gun. Depending on how fast it comes back, the difference in frequency is mathematically calculated as the speed. This speed then appears on the small screen of the radar gun.
2. Moving Radar
Similar to stationary radar, moving radar works much the same way but with a twist. Moving radar (as the name suggests) can be used while the police car is in moton, unlike stationary radar.
Moving radar is most often used by the highway patrol. And unlike stationary radar, moving radar requires a greater amount of expertise in implementing it to ensure that the right target vehicle is being clocked.
Laser or lidar as it is also known, differs a bit from the radar. Instead of radio waves, a laser uses pulses of light. Light from the laser gun is beamed on a moving object.
A laser makes its calculations using time and distance. Each pulse of light travels a certain distance to hit its target. That distance will get shorter as the object approaches. Depending on how fast that distance gets shorter, a measurement of the speed is calculated.
VASCAR stands for Visual Average Speed Computer And Reading. It's a very simple process. The officer will have two defined markers on the road (usually a quarter of a mile apart).
As you pass the first marker, the officer starts a stop watch (or other similar device). As you cross the second marker, the officer will stop the watch.
The amount of time it took you to get from the first marker to the second is divided by the length between the markers. This will give the officer your speed.
It's a type of visual estimation. Although you may have never heard of it before, it is a very popular form of speed detection in many states.
If you ever get a speeding ticket due to this method, you definitely weren't paying attention to your surroundings.
By pacing you, an officer will travel nearby (usually behind you) at the same speed you are for a short distance and then he will look at his speedometer reading. Whatever his speedometer reading is, that's the speed you are traveling at.
This is the biggest waste of taxpayer's money. Basically, a plane in the sky will target fast moving vehicles on the ground using the VASCAR technique and measure their speed.
Once a reading is taken, an officer waiting on the ground is notified of the vehicle and pulls it over to issue a ticket.
It's rarely used nowadays. The cost of maintaining this type of speed detection is obviously expensive (i.e. airplane, gas, pilot, police officer).
7. Photo Radar
Photo speed detection is where an apparatus is set up on the side of the road with a camera and a radar gun coupled together. Whenever the radar gun triggers a vehicle traveling over a certain speed, it instantly sends a message to the camera to take a picture of the entire vehicle.
After a whole day of this, all the pictures taken will be collected and by the license plate information, the owner of the vehicle is located and mailed a speeding ticket with a fine.
Now that we've got a greater understanding of all the different methods used to give motorists speeding tickets, let's see exactly what we need to do to beat a speeding ticket.
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