Cops get new weapon to fight speed
Jeff Labine, tbnewswatch
The Thunder Bay Police Service has a new tool in its fight against speeding – a laser radar.
Jeff Labine, tbnewswatch
Speed demons occupying area roadways should beware of the new radar being used by the Thunder Bay Police Service.
Covering more than 570 metres, the lidar uses a laser sight to judge a speed of a vehicle. Thunder Bay Police were at the bottom of Hill Street North on River Street pulling cars that exceeded the 40-kilometre speed limit.
Traffic Sgt. Glenn Porter for the Thunder Bay Police, said that it was a great opportunity to start using the new equipment during back to school week.
"It’s not new technology since it’s been around for a few years," said Porter. "Our colleagues at the OPP have been using it locally for a number of years but it is new for us."
Porter said that radar uses sounds to judge how quickly a car is going while the lidar uses light. The sound based radar can become less accurate during heavy traffic. There are about 18,000 vehicles that travel down River Street per day and it is an area of concern because of the schools and seniors home, said Porter.
"It is a community safety zone and we are concerned about the fact that the speeds are starting to creep up here."
Porter said Thunder Bay Police will still use other speed-detection methods. The lidar will just be another tool for the service to use.
Deputy Chief J.P. Levesque said the lidar would be one of the tools they present to the Police Services Board for either the September or October meeting.
Another method of curbing speed is the speed sign, which can collect data on how fast cars are going and how many there are.
"It gets people thinking. Driving habits aren’t going to change over night but I’m hoping after a little while with this kind of enforcement we’ll see an improvement."
Levesque said a routine traffic stop could lead to the discovery of other offences including finding drivers with suspended licenses, no insurance, and not using their license plates properly.
Levesque said it will also be interesting to see what happens when cell phone use while driving becomes illegal. A new law will prohibit the use of all handheld and electronic devices while driving, however, there are provisions that will allow drivers to speak on a cellular phone via hands-free technology.
"We are going to have to have a hard look at it," Levesque said of the new laws being introduced soon. "We’ll see what other forces are doing with it whether it is right away a zero tolerance or is there going to be some system where we give people a bit of a break."