9/11/2006New Tool to Ticket People Who Are Not Speeding
The most popular, and controversial, laser speeding ticket gun has added a tailgating ticket feature.
Traffic police have a new tool to add to their speed trap arsenal allowing them to ticket even people who are not speeding. For an extra $700, Laser Technology Inc. (LTI) will add a tailgate ticket feature to its popular 20-20 Ultralyte lidar gun ordinarily used to issue speeding tickets. The Colorado-based company convinced the Colorado State Patrol to embrace the technology, which it now uses to issue $41 tickets that come with 4 license demerit points to raise insurance rates.
Lidar guns are primarily distance measurement tools and only estimate speed based on multiple distance measurements taken in rapid succession. This makes the tailgating feature a simple addition to the device. An officer aims the laser gun at the front bumper of the lead vehicle and the distance is measured and the speed estimated. Next, he points the gun at the front bumper of the tailgating vehicle. The gun then performs a calculation to estimate the distance between the two vehicles based upon these measurements.
The LTI 20-20 Ultralyte speed measurement gun has caused controversy overseas as wildly inaccurate speed measurements have been documented by major British newspapers and the BBC. Nonetheless, many US police agencies have expanded their use of the gun to include the tailgating feature. In Oregon, police in Portland, Gresham, Clackamas, Salem, Grants Pass and Lane County use the device. Departments in Arizona, New Mexico and Tennessee have also begun tests.