How Do The Cops Know How Fast I Was Going?

Traffic Tickets Las Vegas

If you’ve received a traffic ticket in Las Vegas, chances are good that it was for speeding. That is the most common reason for their issuance, but was the accusation really true in your case? If so, how did law enforcement make that determination?

Speed Determination by Pacing

This commonly used method of speed detection takes place when an officer clocks your vehicle’s speed with his own speedometer. Doing it right entails following you at a consistent distance for a long enough time to make a reasonable estimate. An accurate reading can be hard to obtain when:

  • The pace took place under inadequate lighting conditions.
  • The road on which the pace occurred contained a number of curves, hills, stop signs or traffic lights.
  • The officer failed to maintain an equal and consistent distance between your car and his.

If poor conditions, an interrupted view or an insufficient duration of pace interfered with the officer’s reading, you might have grounds for contesting the ticket.

Speed Determination by Aircraft

When using aircraft to detect a vehicle’s speed, law enforcement will normally employ one of two techniques, each of which involves the use of premeasured highway markings. In the first method, the pilot figures your speed by determining how long it takes your vehicle to travel from one marker to the other. In the second, the pilot calculates his own speed and then uses his aircraft to pace your vehicle. This practice is far less accurate.

If the pilot should determine that you have been speeding, he will radio a patrol car on the ground for an independent verification. If all goes as planned, both determinations should agree.

Your chances of successfully fighting an aircraft-detected speeding ticket will rise if either the pilot or the ground patrol fails to appear in court. It will also help if you can prove that:

  • The pilot failed to clock you correctly.
  • Insufficient distance between the markers impeded an accurate timing.
  • Heavy traffic made it difficult to isolate your car.
  • The pacing aircraft failed to maintain a consistent rate.
  • The pilot could not clearly discern the crucial reference points.
  • The officer on the ground mistook your vehicle for the one the pilot intended to point out.

With an aircraft-detected speeding ticket, any of these factors could assist you in mounting a successful challenge.

Speed Determination by VASCAR

Although it may sound intimidating, VASCAR technology consists of nothing more than an electronic connection between a computer and a stopwatch along with two premeasured points on the ground.

When an officer sees your car pass the first location, he pushes the button on his electronic stop watch. When you pass the second point, he pushes it again. The attached computer then determines your rate of speed by dividing the distance you travelled by the time it took to cover it.

An officer can use the VASCAR method:

  • While in back of you.
  • While in front of you.
  • While standing still.
  • While driving in the opposite direction.

VASCAR technology can be difficult to implement. It depends on split-second stopwatch deployment, and this can be hard to accomplish if either of the goal posts is some distance away. The task multiplies in complexity when the patrol car is on the move, and over distances of fewer than 500 feet, errors in reaction time are all the more likely to occur.

Speed Determination by Radar

This tried-and-true technology determines the speed of a moving object by targeting it with radio waves. Unless the object is standing still, these waves will take longer to bounce back from it than they did to reach it. The exact discrepancy will indicate its speed.

Radar units are normally precise and easy to operate. All the same, there are several ways in which radar can fail. This frequently happens when an officer attempts to clock a group of vehicles based on the speed of the leader. Other common sources of inaccurate radar readings include:

  • Heavy traffic.
  • Inclement weather.
  • Inaccurate calibration.
  • False estimates of ground speed when read from a moving vehicle.

Speed Determination by Laser

Although this newcomer to the traffic officer’s stash resembles a radar gun, it uses laser beams, not radio waves, to measures a vehicle’s speed. Although this technology should return a more accurate reading, the narrower width and invisible nature of the laser beam can make it harder to aim correctly. In addition, it utilizes three beams in all, making it easy for one of them to hit the wrong vehicle. Unless both are traveling at the same speed, the laser detector may then return an inaccurate result.

Challenging Your Ticket

Each detection method has its flaws, and not everyone who receives a speeding ticket deserves it. In your own case, a careful consideration of the ways in which skewed readings occur can help you fight that ticket in court. Contact Vegas Ticket Wizard today at 702-202-0500 to fight your traffic ticket!