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Video-enabled radar guns

I’m just curious what people think of this:

Plano could soon become one of the nation’s first cities to equip police with laser speed guns that also capture video.

Police say the handheld equipment would provide courts with indisputable evidence that speeders would find difficult to contest.

[…]

The camera guns, which cost as much as $6,000 apiece, are nearly three times the cost of the laser guns that police currently use. Moreover, Plano’s proposal comes as other kinds of traffic cameras, such as those meant to catch red-light runners, have met a backlash.

Authorities in Plano tried to make a clear distinction between the video-equipped guns they are considering and the automated traffic cameras that have drawn criticism.

The proposed camera guns are not automated, but operated by police in the field. As such, their purpose is not to replace patrols or catch more speeders, but to give police the chance to collect irrefutable evidence of traffic violations that unfold in front of them.

To me, this isn’t really all that different than what we have today. These camera-enabled laser guns aren’t going to catch anyone that wouldn’t have been caught without them. They just simply might take the fight out of someone who doesn’t think they were speeding. Given that about 0.5% of speeding citations in Plano end up in court, according to the story, I’m not sure how much difference that will make, but let’s grant the hypothesis for the sake of argument. What is your opinion of this technological development? Are they like red light cameras or not, and if so is your opinion of them the same or not?

Or is this a better use of laser beams?

I’m not sure how the cameras would fit in, but I daresay we could come up with something.

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One Comment

  1. My gut reaction is I don’t have a problem with it. The officer is still there and can make judgement calls if it says the offender was doing 100 but was obviously going much less, the ticket would still be a criminal ticket I assume, it doesn’t send millions of local dollars out of state, probably wouldn’t cause accidents and doesn’t decriminalize speeding. The only problem I would see is with any other technology piece, video radar gone or no video radar gun, is it accurate and calibrated. On the other hand I could easily see it as a gateway to automated speed camera tickets, but the leg has already outlawed those anyway so little to fear from that.