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J.D. Bullington: Up to speed with traffic police for holidays

By J.D. Bullington
Tribune Columnist
December 19, 2005

I sped up and swerved around the biker in the street pointing the huge gun at me because I didn't realize right away it was a cop with a laser.

I apologized immediately to the tall, visibly ticked officer after he walked the 50 yards or so up to my car. "Sorry. I couldn't tell you were a cop," I said. "You scared the hell out of me" was what I wanted to say, but facing a Miranda warning at any moment, I chose to remain silent.

"The speed limit's 40, and you were doing 55," the cop barked. Minutes later I was off with $70 of new paperwork.

There are several troubling aspects about this event, which happened a few weeks ago while I was driving south onto the Lomas Boulevard frontage road, just past the Big-I on I-25 in the heart of Albuquerque.

First, the speed limit at the exit ramp is 65 mph, and the ramp is down hill. Second, the next speed limit sign appears after a curve and doesn't allow enough distance to reasonably decrease your speed by 25 mph in such a short time, as evidenced by the other vehicles that were pulled over en masse that morning. Third, black-clad motorcycle cops shouldn't be standing in a highway bend pointing gunlike devices at people. This is a nasty speed trap, and anyone who hasn't been down that road before is going to be nailed if the trap is set. Fourth, slowing to 40 mph at that spot in heavy traffic is not safe. The second 40 mph sign, which is located about 500 yards further down is correctly positioned. But the first sign needs to indicate a speed limit of 55, not 40. That is more reasonable for motorists coming off the freeway.

Since it's almost Christmas, I thought I would provide a few last minute gift ideas for those who like to pedal a little fast on occasion, and for those who resent certain kinds of government revenue enhancement tricks.

Consider the newest technology in radar gun detection: The Passport 8500 X50. It is extremely effective according to Motor Trend, speedzones.com, radartest.com and my own exhaustive research. The X50 is the best radar device currently on the market for its ability to quickly detect K, Ka and POP mode radar bands, which are still widely used by law enforcement officers. The Valentine One is also a solid choice. The X50 or the Valentine One units will cost you about $350.

However, police laser guns pose a more difficult problem because as soon as your X50 detects a laser beam you're off to Ticketsville. To effectively counter police laser technology you'll need the combination of two products. The first countermeasure you'll need is Laser Veil - a gel-like liquid that is applied to the front of your vehicle's laser reflective surfaces. Independent testing has concluded the product works as advertised and will dramatically reduce the targeting distance of the three most popular laser guns that police use, the LTI Ultralyte LR, the Stalker LZ-1 and the Kustom Pro Laser III, thereby giving you more reaction time. Laser Veil will cost you about $89.

Next, you'll need the Blinder M20 X-Treme Laser Jammer. This device jams the laser signal from police guns. Independent testing also concludes this product is very effective. The Blinder M20 posted a 92 percent overall effective jamming rate on all three police laser guns when it was tested in various situations, according to speedzones.com. The Blinder M20 will cost you about $299.

Another option is paying $70 once and learning your lesson.

But for those of you who have everything - Merry Christmas.

J.D. Bullington is senior policy adviser and director of New Mexico government relations for the Brownstein, Hyatt & Farber law firm. He writes this column weekly.