Laser Technology Being Used to Track Speeders

Posted June 19, 2007
Updated June 22, 2007

— A new device in use by the North Carolina Highway Patrol is designed to crack down on speeders near work zones.

Troopers are using LIDAR, a speed-timing device that uses light detection technology, to help them enforce speed laws. The handheld unit uses a laser beam to lock on to a speeding vehicle. The trooper then radioes ahead to alert other law enforcement officials, and units are dispatched to catch the speeder.

"It allows us to place the laser beam directly on the vehicle, so that there is no doubt, no question, as to what vehicle is being clocked," Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin said.

"Radar spreads across many vehicles, and it's up to the officer to make sure that he is picking out the right vehicle out of the crowd."

According to the Highway Patrol, some speeding charges are overturned in court because troopers do not have the exact identification on the car.

Thirty-four LIDAR units are in use across the state. Troopers also say they plan to use the device to monitor drivers during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

There are more than 200 major work zones in North Carolina. According to the state Department of Transportation, there were 4,478 work zone-related crashes in 2005. More than 1,500 people were hurt as a result of crashes and 30 people were killed.


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  • bbad238 Jun 21, 2007

    Correction: Law enforcement probably isn't paid well enough! But the $$$$ that's coming off speeders for legal fees must be astounding. I just see too much relation here. Traffic lawyers must be really happy about this "new" radar

  • bbad238 Jun 21, 2007

    I really don't appreciate this so called "new" radar. The fact is that everyone speeds at some point or another. No car should be limited in how fast it can go. It's up to the driver to use common sense and know how to control the car in a safe manner. Rather than a "mass attack" on speeders, the $$$ should be used to fund a required defensive driving course. Granted, some people are getting "run over" on the highway. These are the areas that need more focus. Also, It's such a coincidence that when you receive a speeding ticket in NC, a day or two later you receive 15+ legal advertisements in the mail. All those speeders sure are keeping the lawyers and law enforcement well paid!

  • lizard Jun 20, 2007

    There are no speed restrictions for police officers enroute to apprehend violators of the law or persons charged with or suspected of any violation. Blue lights and sirens are not required. Just can't drive C & R. It's arguable if C & R is speeding w/o them on. Jury might think so. Especially in a civil trial.

  • RPD07 Jun 20, 2007

    TO WRAL: If you want to remove comments for stating facts or non antagonizing content, then so be it. If you want to keep comments up that are damaging to ones image such as libel/slander, degrading, or provoking argument, well guess what, you have something coming to you.

  • RPD07 Jun 20, 2007


  • RPD07 Jun 20, 2007

    I ran out of room for many many more example, but what does it matter. People either understand or they don't. But you might want to watch out who you talk to because there are some Officers that do volunteer firefighting or EMS work as well. And guess what, I am one if them. So if you want to try and argue that we're egotistical bullies, try again. At least not in the bigger city, more professional departments at least. Not talking about the "good ole boys" departments in small towns/counties.

  • truth-hurts Jun 20, 2007

    RPD, first off, let me say I am with you 100%. I agree with everything you have said so far. I also understand and agree with you about the "phenomenon" that occurs when your lights and siren are activated. It should be the discretion of the officer to decide - based on safety, etc. BUT - as a frequent traveler of the major highways of this state, I frequently see law enforcement officers (state, county, local PD) who are simply "cruising" and doing well in excess of the speed limit. This practice appears to be quite common with out-of-jurisdiction sherriff vehicles. I know these officers are not responding to a call. They are simply using their position to break the law. It's just as irritating to me as when I see a law enforcement officer toss a cigarette butt out of the window...

  • RPD07 Jun 20, 2007

    To techrescue:

    I know what the general statute says. But the courts/judges allow for minor traffic infractions by Police Officers when responding to calls even when they do not have all emergency equipment activated. Again, how would you people feel if you had an "emergency" that didn't fit into the requirements for us to use lights and sirens so we obey every single law? You would complain why it took so long to get there. Also, there seems to be a strange phenomenon when we turn the lights and siren on. People over react and make boneheaded moves. Numerous times I see drivers cut others off, slam on their brakes, PULL INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC. That's why you have to use proper judgement when responding. Sometimes it's safer to not turn the equipment on.

  • Grits58 Jun 20, 2007

    This is my first response in form of a comment. I have been reading about this construction zone speeding and yeah I felt little guilty as I went home yesterday. I decided I was gonna be sure to stay on the posted limit in the construction zone. WELL.... I almost got RUN OVER and got many dirty looks and head shakings!! I couldnt believe it! Even in the "slow" lane on the interstate ppl were passing me like nobody's business. I actually hoped the SHP had been there! It was unbelievable. So I am gonna try to let all the speeders GO ON and do the right thing - I hope they dont push me into the cement blocking thingies. :/

  • svaraj38758 Jun 20, 2007

    This has sort of digressed into a finger-pointing session. I drive a lot and see some speeders who are dangerous; some who are very attentive and safe drivers. On the other hand I see some who drive the speed limit who are safe; others drive the limit and they're talk on the phones, weave over into other lanes without looking, stop at the end of highway entry ramps and generally create dangerous situations themselves. It is the job of law enforcement and the judicial system to charge and convict. We should be careful before being hypocritical. I'd bet that the majority on here will commit some sort of traffic violation within 10 days and justify it to themselves. That's the way many people react behind the wheel. Everyone is the best their own mind.