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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    7

    Default Why do Police Use Sight-Based Speed Guns Instead of Laser Radar

    I live in Columbus, OH and have noticed a lot of state police and Columbus municipalities use a sight-based speed gun. They typically have to stand or bend down into awkward positions in order to line up a sight with an oncoming vehicle and it appears to take a lot of time to "lock on" to a car and get a good reading. I rarely see speeding offenses in this area or people being pulled over in general.

    I've lived in upstate NY and have found police there require little effort to catch speeders. I believe they use "laser radar" where they don't even have to aim anything. I realize there could be other factors such as drone or aircraft assisting in enforcement but in my experience NY (again - state and local) officers typically are picking up your speed very quickly and sometimes miles in advance based on their position.

    I'm asking for an opinion. What do you think the reasoning would be behind using a more cumbersome radar which could be easily evaded and can't take as much of a sampling of drivers than a laser radar system? It seems a municipal law enforcement agency would generate greater revenues by investing in such technology so it's tough to imagine that it's a budgetary thing. Would the cumbersome radars be considered more accurate?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,200

    Default Re: Why Use Sight-Based Speed Guns Instead of Laser Radar

    You're mixing technologies. Radar beams are rather broad (3 degrees or so). You don't aim them so tightly, but they are susceptible to errors from multiple targets in the same cone of detection. As a result the officer must be trained in how to minimize these errors and confirm what is going on based on the feedback tones and his visual estimations.

    The lidar is a very tight directional beam. These are the ones that you see the officers aiming. The advantage is that they know exactly which car they are reading the scheme on. The downside is that they need something reflective in its field of view (the license plate, if you have one is a good target). The technology is good even if you don't understand it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Why Use Sight-Based Speed Guns Instead of Laser Radar

    Interesting...seems like maybe there have been cases where Ohio drivers proved the radar to be inaccurate so they got police departments to adapt the lidar. But I'm reading that Dayton is now using a much more accurate, but less cumbersome, method using attached cameras.

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