Lidar lets police catch tailgaters red-handed

Forget radar guns: Lidar lets police catch tailgaters red-handed


Story Published: Nov 18, 2008 at 5:16 PM PST

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Molly Blancett KVAL News Video
EUGENE, Ore. - Jay gates is a tow truck driver and he's not afraid to tell you what he thinks about people who tailgate him.
"They are stupid," said Gates.
Lucky for him, Eugene police are on the tailgaters tail. You've heard of speed radar detectors. But what about DBC Enabled Lidar units? That's a fancy term for a tailgate detector. Thanks to a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation, Eugene Police are now fully equipped with four of the devices. Officer Scott Dillon said the new Lidars will help police crack down on tailgating, which he said is one of the leading causes of crashes.
"The problem with following too close is you don't have enough reaction time to be able to a problem maybe ahead of you on the road," said Dillon.
Dillon spent Tuesday morning testing out the new device. Nearly every car he tracked violated the recommended two-second following distance.
"Seven tenths of a second is the last one I measured," said Dillon.
Here's how it works: The Lidars track the speed of two vehicles. It lists two numbers - the speed of the second car and the distance in time between the first and second cars. Too close means you could get a ticket.
That's welcome news for drivers like Jay Gates who are tired of tailgaters from riding their rigs. The ticket isn't cheap. The fine for following to closely in Eugene is $237.