Pennsylvania Considers Using Radar Speed Guns

by mphippen 23. July 2014 13:04

We at Laser Technology, Inc. (LTI) take pride in being at the leading edge of pulse laser technology. Products like the Marksman, UltraLyte, TruSpeed Sx, and TruCam were the first of their kind helping traffic enforcement officers operate safer and more efficiently. We see this commitment to excellence so often it's hard to surprise us anymore and think by now everyone must know what 'Lidar' brings to the table versus 'Radar' and what the major difference is between the two technologies.

LTI laser speed guns
use Lidar technology NOT Radar.

There was an article written by Brian Heaton for Government Technology Magazine. Directly under the subtitle "Will Pennsylvania Arm Local Cops with Radar" is a photo of a police officer aiming an UltraLyte (Lidar) laser speed gun manufactured by Laser Technology, Inc. While we always appreciate being featured in a news story or article, it clearly demonstrates that even after 25 years, folks still lump both technologies together. Read Article here.

I find it interesting that this information hasn't made its way to Harrisburg, PA where legislators are still debating whether or not to allow municipal police departments to use Radar speed guns as a speed enforcement tool. The terminology 'Radar' is written into all three bills while only one includes 'Lidar'.

This debate has been going on since well before my initial trip to PA in 1990. The argument that small departments would abuse the technology by setting up speed traps simply to generate revenue still persists today. I feel it's very important that Pennsylvania lawmakers include the terminology 'Lidar' in the bill's language and here’s why:

Police Radar speed guns have made some improvements over the years, but it's still a one dimensional tool for monitoring speeds…that's it. Lidar (laser) speed guns by Laser Technology on the other hand has several other applications important to traffic officers which I'll briefly cover.

What Makes Lidar Better for Speed Enforcement?

What makes Lidar (light detection and ranging) better for speed enforcement is the beam divergence or beam width. At 1,000 feet a typical Radar gun beam is at or near 250 feet wide and the operator must make sure the ‘out front’ vehicle is being targeted. The wide beam is also what makes radar detectors effective as the signal goes well beyond the target vehicle warning drivers down the road. By comparison, at the same 1,000 foot distance, LTI’s Lidar (laser) is only 3 feet wide. Looking through a scope allows the officer to target the specific vehicle they've identified as a violator recording their speed regardless of its position in traffic.

In addition to an accurate speed, traffic officers can use the same laser to collect accurate range data for mapping accident scenes. Further, the same laser can calculate the elapsed time and distance between vehicles to quantify 'tailgating', which can now support the officer's visual determination.

So to the folks that are responsible for writing this legislation - as you continue to debate, please consider and craft the final versions of your respective bills in the direction of allowing Lidar. Don't deny law enforcement the most technically advanced tools available facilitating safer and more efficient operations by not adding 'Lidar' technology to your final drafts.

If you haven't had the opportunity to see LTI’s family of lasers for law enforcement see LTI's Traffic Safety Products. Then call 1.800.OWN.A.LTI or email us for a practical demonstration.

For further information on these two technologies, read The Difference Between Radar and Lidar Explained

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