Traffic

New Technology Spots Cary Speeders

Posted March 1, 2006
Updated June 22, 2007

— Construction and congestion combine to create a bad stretch of US 1 in Cary. It's the most dangerous section of pavement in town. More than 10 percent of all Cary wrecks happened here last year.

Cary Officer Keith Campbell is the only Cary officer certified to operate the latest technology in catching speeders. It's LIDAR -- a laser-beam version of a radar gun that uses light detection technology instead of radio detection.

Campbell picks out the speeding car with LIDAR, and other officers chase it down. It's much like any ordinary speed trap, except the $3,000 laser gun can mark the speeding car farther out than regular radar guns. The laser gun is especially good at picking the speeder out of a crowd.

“You have no doubt that that is the vehicle you're clocking,” said Campbell.

It's 20 times more accurate than radar at long distances. That gives officers more time to safely chase after the offending driver.

LIDAR technology is catching on in North Carolina. The Highway Patrol has two units in the Charlotte area. They're planning to order 15 more, so expect to see Triangle troopers with them very soon.

“You know, I've been doing this for quite a few years now, and this is very exciting,” said Sgt. Joe Clifton with the Cary Police Department

Officers say the system will hold up well in court because it pinpoints the violator. But for now, the technology is so new that the defense attorney WRAL talked with said she'd never heard of it.

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