Laser Technology Being Used to Track Speeders

Posted June 19, 2007 1:02 p.m. EDT
Updated June 22, 2007 12:59 p.m. EDT

— 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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