It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane… It’s the Highway Patrol

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May 9, 2011

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane… It’s the Highway Patrol

You have probably seen the signs along the highway that proclaim “Speed Enforced by Aircraft” or you may have even been the recipient of one of these “tag team” citations. Yes, the Highway Patrol has their eye in the sky in the form of small aircraft that will pace speeders along the open highway and once they latch on to you, there’s no getting away or is there?

OK, sometimes the local PD will have their own aircraft, be it an airplane or a helicopter but more than likely it will be the Highway Patrol. The way it works is very simple. The officer in the aircraft uses preset highway markers along the road that depict mile indicators. Normally using a stopwatch he or she will time the speeder from one marker to the next and thus calculate how long it took the car to get from point “a” to point “b” and come up with the car’s speed. If you are speeding… they will contact another officer in a ground unit (car or motorcycle) who will then stop you and give you a ticket. Nifty…!

Well, the problem with that situation is that if you decide to go to court, both officers (the air and ground officers) need to be present in court otherwise the ticket will be dismissed. This gives you, the speedster, a better chance to beat the ticket. Another way to combat this situation is to hire a competent attorney that can subpoena records pertaining to the equipment used to calculate your speed (i.e. the stopwatch) since these devices need to be properly calibrated and have the records to prove it.

So the next time you are enjoying a leisurely drive on an open California highway and you see one of those signs, lay off the gas pedal… Poncherello may be watching. Oh come on, you remember “Ponch”…CHiPs… ? I can’t be that old…

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