Some police officers in south San Francisco may have sore wrists, after
58 motorists received speeding tickets in one area of the city in one day.
According to police, the heightened enforcement along El Camino Real, Hillside
Boulevard and Sister Cities Boulevard was to improve safety in the area,
which is known for a high number of vehicle collisions. Officers used
Lidar instead of radar to issue the tickets, which included one citation
for 70 mph in a 40 mph zone, as well as three citations for speeding and
driving without a license.
Officers plan more speeding
STEP campaigns in the future, which will probably be funded by state and federal grants.
A radar gun aims sound waves toward a car, and measures the elapsed time
between sending and receiving to calculate the vehicle's speed. Radar
guns will soon become obsolete, because there is no way to conclusively
prove which vehicle produced the results. In other words, if there are
three or four cars travelling close beside on another, a radar gun can
establish that one of them was speeding, but not which car was the culprit.
This may be a useful defense in Fresno traffic court.
Lidar gun aims a point of light at a vehicle's license plate. When the light
beam bounces back and calculates the car or truck's speed, the officer
has near-irrefutable proof that a specific car was speeding. The technology
is still new, and some officers may be inexperienced with these devices
or haven't been trained on them at all.
Eventually, speeding cameras may replace Lidar guns. But the law would
have to be changed, because these unmanned devices are speed traps according
to the current Vehicle Code.