Those signs along the Grapevine and Highway 395 that say “Speed Enforced
By Aircraft” really do mean that there are patrolling aircraft overhead
which are empowered to issue traffic tickets.
Longtime CHP pilot Jim Andrews says there is not as much
aerial traffic ticket enforcement today as there was ten or fifteen years ago, mostly due to better technology
on the ground and budget cuts in Sacramento. But he and the other pilots
definitely maintain a presence, especially when it comes to infractions
like street racing and failure to maintain a single lane. From his base
near San Francisco, he and the other pilots use two helicopters and two
small airplanes to cover most of Central California. Officer Andrews uses
high-definition cameras to help spot speeding cars, but he says they stand
out at high altitudes. To verify speed, he and the other pilots rely on
those perpendicular painted white lines to help them estimate a vehicle’s
speed. Then, they radio ahead to ground units that issue traffic tickets.
Officer Andrews says he and the other pilots also assist with disabled
motorists and other emergency situations.
Legal Issues in Speeding Tickets
Aerial enforcement raises some interesting questions. For example, using
the marks on the side of the road sounds suspiciously like using a clock
or timing device to calculate vehicle speed based on distance travelled,
which is illegal under the
speed trap law. So, if you get a ticket from an officer who got a tip from an aircraft,
you may have a valid defense.
Pacing is also rather controversial, because the officers essentially guess vehicle
speed based on their experience. Judges nearly always side with the officers
in these cases. In fact, there was a case from San Francisco several years
ago in which an officer who was standing still paced a vehicle. An aggressive
and experienced attorney can normally expose the flaws in this method
Getting Legal Help
The aggressive lawyers at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving
individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call
today at 661-859-1177 or email
firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español,
llame al 661-376-0214.