CHP gunning for unsafe drivers
New tool more accurate in detecting speeders
Article Last Updated: 02/21/2007 08:16:50 PM PST

PALMDALE - California Highway Patrol Officer Jason Peavy stood on a bridge atop the Antelope Valley Freeway on Wednesday armed with the CHP's latest tool against the lead foot.

As part of a five-person Speed Enforcement Unit, Peavy pointed the high-tech speed gun, called LIDAR, at cars zooming below, then radioed information to officers in patrol cars so they could make the bust.

"It is personal for me," Peavy said. "I'm not going to have my 2-year-old son on the road with drivers who are putting their lives and everybody else's life in danger."

LIDAR - or Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging - resembles the radar guns used to clock a pitcher in baseball. And it gauges speed much more accurately than its predecessor, which had been used for decades.

"This is really just another tool for us to enforce these speed laws," Peavy said.

Officer Henry Ross said Wednesday's team yielded 45 citations, including three to motorists driving more than 100mph. One vehicle was impounded because of a suspended license, Ross said.

"We're targeting the people who are driving at high speeds and threatening public safety," Peavy said.

Motorists traveling faster than 100mph will have to make a
court appearance and should expect a 30-day suspension of their license along with a fine, he said.

A Lancaster man who received a citation for driving 91mph during Wednesday's speed sting said he didn't believe he was going as fast as the ticket indicated, but he nevertheless praised the CHP's efforts to make the road safer.

"I think it's a good thing that they're doing that," Jerry Garcia said. "I'm glad they're out here."

Ross said the CHP will hold about three such efforts a month and will likely conduct more once the Antelope Valley's CHP station gets more staffing and LIDAR devices.

A similar detail is scheduled for Tuesday morning at an unspecified location on Highway138.

Peavy said he typically focuses on drivers traveling at the higher speeds, but he noted other factors such as road conditions figure into his decision to issue tickets.