Q. Can a law enforcement officer clock two cars at the same time? A van was being tailgated by a smaller car. The trooper car was parked stationary on the side of the highway but he insists that its possible to clock two cars placed as stated above and get an accurate read. I feel that the bigger van would negate the read on the smaller car.
A. Troopers use a handheld laser gun that enables the clocking of cars in rapid succession. So while they cannot clock two cars at the same time, they can clock one and then quickly clock the other, said Troy Pope, first sergeant of the N.C. Highway Patrol’s Wilmington Office.
And besides, troopers, and any law enforcement officer for that matter, don’t need to clock you to pull you over. As part of their academy and in-service training, they are taught how to estimate speeds visually. All they need is a visual estimation to charge you with speeding. The laser gun just serves as mechanical corroboration. Troopers’ visual estimation skills are put to the test every three years during in-service training, and they must pass to keep their certification.
The laser gun technology, known as LIDAR, is an alternative to radar, which clocks speeds by sending and receiving radio signals. The biggest difference between LIDAR and radar is the width of the signal at farther distances. The laser signal expands only a few feet, while radar can expand wider.
In practice, if a bus and coupe are approaching a trooper, the radar may pick up the bus first. But with LIDAR, the trooper can aim at either the bus or coupe and clock the car he or she wants. Sighting with the laser is known as “painting” the vehicle.
Date posted: April 24, 2013
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