Special Report: 'Aim. Shoot. Busted.'
The Following Is A Transcript Of A Report Broadcast Nov. 28 On NBC4
VIDEO SHOWS PATROL CAR
LINK TO VIDEO
CHP OFFICER JAY BRAME: I got 102 mph coming your way. Eastbound 210 to the southbound 2. It's a white Infinity, tinted windows. Here we go again.
PAUL MOYER: A gold Honda Civic doing 103 mph on the 210?
CHP OFFICER JAY BRAME: On the 210 Freeway. Very common. Very common.
CHP OFFICER JEFF WILL: Speed is by far one of the biggest problems on the freeway.
PAUL MOYER: But now the California Highway Patrol is introducing a new weapon in the seemingly endless struggle against speeders.
CHP OFFICER JEFF WILL: Most of the people that we stop today probably won't know exactly what hit them.
PAUL MOYER: It's called LIDAR.
ALEX: I have no idea what that is.
PAUL MOYER: LIDAR is short for Light Detection And Ranging.
YOUSEF: I know radar but not LIDAR.
PAUL MOYER: LIDAR emits a laser beam that, like radar, travels at the speed of light. However, the major difference is the size of the beam. At 1,000 feet, radar shoots a field that is 210 feet wide, big enough to cover the entire width of the freeway, as compared to LIDAR, which at the same distance shoots a beam that is just 3 to 4 feet wide, or about as wide as a single car door.
CHP OFFICER JEFF WILL: You are putting the little red dot on that vehicle and you are determining that vehicle speed. You're not determining the person behind them, the person in front of him, to the side of him -- it is that vehicle.
PAUL MOYER: Is LIDAR better than radar?
CHP OFFICER JAY BRAME: For testimony purposes, it makes it easier for us. But they are just as accurate.
PAUL MOYER: Officers we spoke with agreed -- speeders will always outnumber officers. But when they work in speed teams, they are able to write more citations.
YOUSEF: It's just a misunderstanding. I had to pass the car next to me and it was going the same speed. So what are you going to do?
PAUL MOYER: Speed teams involve having one strategically placed officer work the LIDAR while a team of chase cars are standing by.
CHP OFFICER JAY BRAME: Once I shoot the vehicle, I transition and follow the vehicle to make sure when the officer wraps on the freeway or they start, that they are approaching the approrpriate vehicle.
PAUL MOYER: This thing is so easy to use, even I can do it. You put the red light on the car, squeeze the trigger. There is the speed (81). Easy to use, but expensive. Each LIDAR comes with a price tag of $4,300. At this time, the CHP has 261 LIDAR guns statewide with each division having about 30 units. Officers must be trained and certified to use LIDAR, but the technology they say is still secondary to well-trained eyes.
CHP OFFICER JAY BRAME: If a vehicle is coming down the freeway and I estimate them at 80 to 82 mph and the speed comes back at 95 mph, that is a citation you should not write because something is off. Either the LIDAR is off or you are off. Officers stress that a simple traffic stop can often lead to more serious violations. On the afternoon we rode along, officers impounded the vehicles of three speeders driving without licenses, and they even came across a weapon.
While officers are adamant that more manpower is needed, for now they hope to get through to speeders one ticket at a time.
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