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Chicago Court Throwing Out LIDAR Speeding Tickets

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the should-happen-more-often dept.

The Courts 245

bridgeco writes "Chicago Traffic Court Judges have been throwing out speeding cases in which the driver's speed was measured with a LIDAR. Judges are asking for a special 'Frye Hearing' to determine the accuracy of these devices. Many motorists nabbed for speeding by a laser gun, instead of radar, are seeing their tickets thrown out at Chicago's traffic court because of a legal issue that the city's law department has been unable to overcome. Within the past year judges in Cook County Traffic Court in Chicago determined that speeds captured by lidar were not admissible because the devices had not been proven scientifically reliable in an Illinois court, said Jennifer Hoyle, spokeswoman for the law department, which prosecutes most speeding tickets in the city." (Here's some background on LIDAR from Wikipedia.)

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other problem (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30048946)

Another problem with using frickin' lasers is that you have to trust the sharks to use them correctly.

Re:other problem (3, Funny)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30048974)

You mean the pigs?

Re:other problem (2, Interesting)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049080)

We should call them DEMs.

Donuts
Eating
Machines.

Re:other problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30049116)

I'm pretty sure it's Bears with Lasers. And they shoot lightning from their hands for good measure.

Not sharks (1, Funny)

hellfire (86129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049668)

If you'd hired sharks, they would be used properly. They obviously hired mutated sea bass here.

Re:Not sharks (2, Funny)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049856)

They obviously hired mutated sea bass here.

KICK HIS ASS, SEABASS!!!!

Re:Not sharks (1)

saider (177166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049874)

But they are ill-tempered, so they have that going for them.

link from search (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30048954)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-speeding-tickets-09-nov09,0,7869040.story

Re:link from search (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30049548)

The problem in the original posting is the slash at the end of the link. Remove that and the link works properly.

Name says it all (3, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30048994)

With a name like LIDAR, who would doubt the radar's claimed speed?

Re:Name says it all (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049908)

Is that like a Liger? Only the most awesomest animal EVER!

Re:Name says it all (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050026)

It's bred for its' skills in magic...lly generating revenue for municipalities.

Hawaii has the same issue (5, Informative)

butabozuhi (1036396) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049012)

Re:Hawaii has the same issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30049124)

Yeah but I think Hawaii's, "you are not certified and performing to the manufacturer's standards" argument is only valid for cases that were in court or scheduled for appeals before the supreme court ruled.

Liger? (1)

neurogeneticist (1631367) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049018)

LIDAR; bred for its skills and magic.

Colonel Tribune (3, Funny)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049074)

from the (bonked) link:

I'm sorry we had to meet under these circumstances, but allow me to introduce myself. I'm Colonel Tribune, the Web ambassador for chicagotribune.com.

Looks like the Tribune Co. is really embracing the interweb...

Meantime, I hope I run into you surfing the Web. You can find me on Twitter and Facebook.

...I wonder if Colonel Tribune prefers Farmville or Mafia Wars?

Re:Colonel Tribune (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30049166)

try loading the page without the final "/" then the link is good.

Re:Colonel Tribune (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049646)

try loading the page without the final "/" then the link is good.

What can you do with dopes*Wpeople that want to make everything look like xml, including trying to make a url look like it has a closing slash before the angle_bracket ( a "/>" ).

Re:Colonel Tribune (2)

Electrawn (321224) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049718)

Colonel Tribune plays Mafia Wars AND Farmville.

(and we might have a redirect in place before slashdot editors can fix it)...

On behalf of Colonel Tribune and Interactive Support deep in the heart of Tribune Tower.

Re:Colonel Tribune (1)

oliphaunt (124016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050178)

funny. You are my new hero.

Re:Colonel Tribune (1)

mishehu (712452) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049734)

...I wonder if Colonel Tribune prefers Farmville or Mafia Wars?

Seeing that the Tribune is in Chicago, I'd say Mafia Wars...

link is Judge Borked (4, Interesting)

HawkinsD (267367) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049130)

The link doesn't work. On the other hand, there's a very nice 404 page. It's funny, friendly, and attempts to be informative.

Good error handling is something many of us don't always do well.

Gaydar? (0, Offtopic)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049160)

Are they also going to review marriage applications that were rejected because of a civil servant's gaydar?

Oh noes news at 11 (4, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049162)

[$group] failed to go through [$procedure] to have [$new_technology] legally recognized by [$other_group]. As a result all results recorded by [$group] using [$new_technology] are considered legally suspect by [$other_group].

Re:Oh noes news at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30049292)

Say, you haven't seen this kinda thing before, have you?

At least the court hasn't floundered.... yet.

Re:Oh noes news at 11 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30049404)

Well duh, would you prefer any tech is admissable against you in court?

Re:Oh noes news at 11 (2, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049840)

I don't know. This technology thing sounds pretty dangerous and crazy. Who knows what mistakes they're making with this pretty complex technology.

As an aside, I have been nailed for speeding (73 MPH in a 60 MPH zone) because a car passing me was going that fast. I was probably speeding a little, but under 65 MPH (I was slowly passing a truck that was going just under the speed limit in a six lane highway).

Re:Oh noes news at 11 (2, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049744)

What's interesting is that the judges work for "Traffic Courts". If in Chicago that is anything like in New York City, then the two groups (cops and judges) are the same — both work for and report to the Executive Branch. The traffic judges aren't real judges — from the Judiciary branch. New York (and some other locales) get away with this, because driving is not a right, but a privilege, and thus the Executive can simply withdraw it — and need not bother convicting the accused in front of an independent judge (much less the jury of one's peers).

Can anyone confirm, what the situation is in Chicago? Because, if the "Traffic Courts" there are also presided over by the Executive's employees, then it is interesting, because they and the cops are working for the same boss (the mayor)...

Re:Oh noes news at 11 (2, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050274)

Rivals working for the same boss who hate each other is terribly new and interesting...

Re:Oh noes news at 11 (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050072)

Yeah, and in other totally stupid news [$president] was seriously [$event], rushed to [$place] where he's receiving major [$variable]. Pff, wake me up when Firefox 3.6 is out.

Yeah, but it is reliable. (3, Informative)

captaindomon (870655) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049244)

The point is, LIDAR is reliable, at least as much as RADAR is. This is just a legal snafu, they will throw out enough that there will be incredible pressure to figure out the legal problems, they will figure them out, and then LIDAR tickets will be enforced again. Never underestimate the power of a determined vendor that has been harmed or the importance of sunk costs in equipment for an agency with very limited funding. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along, please.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049308)

"The point is, LIDAR is reliable, at least as much as RADAR is. This is just a legal snafu, they will throw out enough that there will be incredible pressure to figure out the legal problems, they will figure them out, and then LIDAR tickets will be enforced again. Never underestimate the power of a determined vendor that has been harmed or the importance of sunk costs in equipment for an agency with very limited funding. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along, please."

Even more than that....NEVER underestimate the greed of the police force to reinstate their favorite method of revenue generation. That's really all this radar/lidar/stop light camera stuff is all about.

If you were to take all the money generated, and not give it to the cops, but, say, pool it and refund it all the citizens that didn't get a ticket...I'm sure you'd see the enthusiasm by the cops for doing this subside drastically.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (4, Interesting)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049518)

I had always been shocked by the tails of being pulled over for speeding that I hear elsewhere. Compared to what the law says, not only am I a habitual speeder, the general flow of traffic is habitually above the speed limit here. Often by 5-10 in the city and 15 on the highway.

Despite that, and that I often drive faster than "average", I have been pulled over all of 3 times for speeding in nearly 11 years of driving, and never for less than 20 mph over the limit. Still, never gotten an actual speeding ticket.

It always boggled me until I heard that my state (MA) does exactly this. The mandate of the police is to keep the traffic moving and safe. NOT to arbitrarily enforce the law for any reason at all times. Since they don't get the ticket money, there is no reason to exceede that mandate.

Of course, I wonder if its changed. I have noticed that ever since the economy started to nose dive, there have been more and more police, and more and more they are pulling people over, rather than napping by the side of the road. Also, I am not the only one to notice, several other drivers have made the same comment.

My guess is that they feel the need to suddenly justify their usefulness to fend off budget cuts. Which probably means, that they SHOULD be some of the first ones on the chopping block. If they need to suddenly start enforcing pointless laws to justify their budgets well... can we really call that an improvement? I am in favor of laying off useless state employees if the alternative is to just make them do more pointless work.

-Steve

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30049752)

Meanwhile the cops in MA seem to really like to flaunt their gang colors with those black stickers and license plates with a blue stripe across them. Seems to me that any cop with one of those on either his patrol or private vehicle ought to be given special scrutiny for corruption.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (3, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050234)

Actually, I was curious about those and did some investigation. The site that originally sold them appears to be gone. Originally they were, indeed, only sold to police.

Now you can get a "corrupt blue line" sticker nearly anywhere. Caffe Press sells them.

Frankly, I think they are mostly on cars of people who just want to look special and are hoping that it gets them out of a ticket. Personally, I think the best way to avoid a ticket is to not confess, which most people do as soon as they are asked "Do you know how fast you were going". Oh, think your gonna be smart and lie and say it was only 3 or 4 MPH over? guess what, you just confessed moron. He might not have even had his gun ready and just saw how fast you were going and nabbed you. In fact, he doesn't even need to tell you, he can lie and say he got you just to trick you into confessing.

I have heard claims from police that about 80% of people they convict confess in one way or another. Your best bet is to smile, be polite, and refuse to talk about anything related to what you were doing or why. Remember, nothing you say to a police officer can help you in court (ever!). Also, the fact that you were willing to discuss A but not B CAN be used against you (while refusing to discuss anything cannot)

So if you have ever in your life done anything that you don't want to have to answer questions about, don't talk at all to start, about anything.

-Steve

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050532)

I just shrug and smile. Occasionally touch my mouth as if I am a mute.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049760)

Welcome to the problem of all law enforcement in the US (some states *cough*virginia*cough* worse than others).

The police at some point in the last 60 years or so moved from a philosophy of "keeping the peace" to "enforcing the law".

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30049796)

I had always been shocked by the tails of being pulled over for speeding that I hear elsewhere.

It is spelled "tales", not "tails", moron.

Despite that, and that I often drive faster than "average" .. blah, blah blah

Try obeying the law sometime.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (5, Insightful)

kirillian (1437647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050030)

In the state where I grew up (Texas), the general philosophy is that, if you are going the speed of the general traffic, you are being a safe driver, and are, therefore, keeping the spirit of the law. I still remember my dad getting pulled over for going the speed limit because he was 15 mph UNDER the general traffic flow. Such a speed difference is hazardous to the rest of traffic. Period.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050136)

In many places traffic cops are like Wikipedia admins. You get penalized if you behave in an unpopular manner; whether it's technically correct or not. So when everybody flies thru a school zone at 40mph, then it's okay! Right?

(Lack of) respect for traffic cops (2, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050418)

I still remember my dad getting pulled over for going the speed limit because he was 15 mph UNDER the general traffic flow.

That happened to me once in Mobile, Alabama. I pulled into the far left lane on I-10 to pass a car in the next-to-left lane. I got about halfway done passing them when a cop whizzed up behind me. Not wanting to get a speeding ticket, I slowed down to 55 MPH. Of course, the car to my right did the same thing, and we ended up side-by-side.

Not really wanting to be stuck in the left lane, and not wanting to get a ticket, and since the guy next to me wasn't slowing down, I slowed down to drop in behind him and let the cop past. When I did, he turned on his lights and pulled me over. He proceeded to lecture me about how the far left lane was a passing lane, that when a car comes up behind me like he did, I needed to speed up and get out of the way, blah, blah, blah.

Of course, I totally agree with him. That's precisely what I do under normal circumstances--avoid cruising in the left lane. People who do that drive me nuts. Of course, I guess the significance of the fact that he was a cop was completely lost on him, that the reason why I was engaging in this behavior was because I was afraid that he'd give me a speeding ticket.

Truth is, I have very little respect for traffic cops for that kind of crap. Just last night, I was in gridlock at an interstate entrance in Atlanta, Georgia. No one could move anywhere because of how stupidly they have the entrance ramps and the lanes configured on the interstate. At the particular entrance ramp I was trying to get onto, people habitually engage in extremely frustrating and dangerous behavior, such as blocking intersections, pulling left into an intersection from the right lane to get around someone waiting for a light, etc.

Meanwhile, there's an HOV entrance that dumps you right in the right place if you're trying to get on I-85 that is virtually unused. As a result, people trying to get on either of the two main arteries out of town, I-75 and I-85, have to cram onto a one-lane entrance ramp that is completely blocked because just after getting on, people are having to muscle their way to get in the right place since the interstates split about a mile after the ramp.

So after sitting there for around 15 minutes and not moving, I took the HOV entrance ramp. There were two cops at the bottom giving people tickets. Fortunately, they either didn't see that I was alone, or they were busy with the people they were ticketing, because I got away with it. And you know what? In the same situation, I'd pick safety over the law any day. The fact is that in my opinion, those police officers should have been at the top of the entrance ramp directing traffic, not at the bottom creating more problems.

Of course, directing traffic at the top of the entrance ramp would have only resulted in more safety, not the revenue generation of $150 HOV violation tickets. So guess which one they decided to do.

The worst was one night when I saw a cop in the right lane watch a guy swerve across three lanes and onto an exit ramp because I guess he just noticed he was supposed to get off. I damn near slammed into him. The cop just kept going like nothing happened. I guess he had met his quota for the day.

Anyway, yeah, to hell with 'em. It's too bad, because I normally have a lot of respect and admiration for people who put their lives on the line for us every day. But these guys are just a bunch of tax collectors with guns.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050094)

Thank you for your troll, while the effort is appreciated, I think you could use some more practice. Two little one liner comments without so much as an insult or claim of why the law is so great and people like myself who really couldn't care less what the law actually says well... lets just say thats not deserving of an A for effort.

Now maybe this is what passes for a good troll on /. these days but, don't you think its worth it to try and raise the bar? To be better than the average? Keep trying troll.

I mean, you didn't even attempt to cast aspersions on my upbringing, you didn't pull out some BS reason why I am wrong, you didn't even try and call me a communist. Much room for improvement here.

-Steve

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (3, Interesting)

cellurl (906920) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050046)

Hey Steve,

Fight back by adding some speed limits at Wikispeedia [wikispeedia.org]

Its us fighting back.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (2, Funny)

xonar (1069832) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050568)

I find this project very cool, are there any apps available that allow one to enter a speed limit as they see signs, and couple this with your GPS coordinates? I saw an android app here:

http://handheld.softpedia.com/get/Travel/Wikispeedia-82116.shtml [softpedia.com]

But I haven't rooted my G1 yet, so I can't install apps not on the market (which it isnt). If this isn't what that particular app does, it would be nice to write one.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050148)

My guess is that they feel the need to suddenly justify their usefulness to fend off budget cuts. Which probably means, that they SHOULD be some of the first ones on the chopping block.

You do realize that when these officers are not watching for speeders, they are responding to calls for robberies, murders and rapes..?

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (1)

HogGeek (456673) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050276)

Maybe crime rates would drop if they spent their time looking for "robberies, murders and rapes..", rather the "responding" to them...

I believe people wouldn't mind "paying the cost", if they "did their job" rather than try to generate revenue...

"paying the cost" = taxes

"did their job" = prevent crime by being present and alert (vs. camped out in the middle of the freeway median, chatting with their officer buddy, waiting for the radar to beep at them)

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050334)

Sure, and I am ok with that. I would RATHER them be responding to those calls than going after speeders.

However, if there are not enough of those calls to keep them busy.... then I don't think the number of speeders they catch should be used to justify keeping them in a job. Yet, knowing how metrics get used in public policy, I am pretty sure that those numbers will be used along with everything else.

I have worked my whole career in institutions modeled after public institutions. We use the same sort so fbudget allocation and cycles. The "use it or lose it" mindset with respect to budgets is a HUGE problem for cost control. Essentially, the theory thats used at most levels is...use as much of you rbudget as you can, or else it will be reduced in the future. Seldom does a department willfully realize it is too big, slim down, and reduce budget. Its very much "they allocated it because they want us to spend it".

-Steve

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (1, Interesting)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050416)

Usually they don't have traffic cops investigating homicides. They aren't even enforcing the same code. Motor Vehicle Act vs. Criminal Code. They aren't even in the same BOOK. They don't use the same courts. Even a Dick Wolf law class should teach you *that* much.

Meh, if this gig as an Electrical Engineer doesn't work out, I'll be an Electrician. That's the same thing, right? (Note that I'm not slagging Electricians; there's no way I can do their job in either a legal or competent manner.)

Further, speeders in urban areas, construction zones, school zones, and residential neighbourhoods should lose their licences for life. There are approx 45k traffic fatalities every year in the US alone. People are generally terrible drivers and think they're good because they use their driving skills to evaluate their driving skills. Stopping speeders prevents accidents, saves money, and saves lives. In fact, there were ~17k murders in the US, so you're more than twice as likely to be killed by someone like you in a car compared to a murderer.

On the Interstate, yeah, you can probably speed without much risk to anyone but yourself.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (2, Insightful)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050674)

Some police systems have a positive feedback loop where ticket revenue is given back to the police department.

Must have been a real rocket scientist that didn't see the problem with that setup.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30049498)

Actually, it is not. LIDAR measures distance, not speed as RADAR does. If you point a LIDAR at a multifactaed object (like say a staionary car) and the operator moves enough to bounce the lazer from the grill to the windshield. A LIDAR will have seen the car 'move' because the distance the lazer went changed. This will not happen with a RADAR because there will be no change in red shift. LIDAR's should not be used in law enforcement.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (3, Informative)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049978)

RADAR isn't always accurate either, as the beam is wider and can't discriminate between different vehicles. It will always give a correct speed, but not necessarily that of the correct target.

An easy solution would be to capture video of the lazer on the target for every pull. Then compare the data points to the photos of the lazer beam. If there's an excursion, throw the ticket out.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (3, Informative)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050394)

RADAR isn't always accurate either, as the beam is wider and can't discriminate between different vehicles. It will always give a correct speed, but not necessarily that of the correct target.

Yup, if you're in a group of cars, you're safe from RADAR alone, as an old cop friend of mine once told me. They can't really tell what they just got a speed reading of. OTOH, the cops can usually tell when you're speeding without RADAR. They (or at least one of them) use the RADAR to collect objective evidence, not to identify the speeder, they've already done that before they reach for the RADAR gun.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050626)

There's no 'Z' in laser [wikipedia.org]

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050486)

That's a qualitative argument. You claim it's possible for the speed reading to be incorrect, due to details of how LIDAR works. There are a lot more details about how the LIDAR gun works. Make the argument quantitative. By how much will the speed reading be incorrect for vehicles that are near or above the speed limit? (Vehicles well below the speed limit are, of course, not of interest.) It's unlikely for any useful measurement device to be perfectly accurate, but putting bounds on its accuracy is an approachable problem. There's a significant difference between a reading of 60 mph that's accurate to 0.1 mph and one that's accurate to 10 mph.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (2, Insightful)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050632)

If you can detect the doppler shift on a radio wave (which was created by a sinusoidally oscillating emitter) why couldn't you detect the same doppler shift on a laser signal, if said laser signal was sinusoidally oscillated?

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (2, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049746)

I just want to know when they're going to start throwing out cases based on fingerprint evidence. Fingerprinting has not been shown to be scientifically reliable in any court or scientific publication.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (2, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049816)

LIDAR is about as reliable as your imagination. Go research how it works and you'll see, moving objects are not what lidar is for at all. It's just a poor attempt at shoehorning a measurement device that has a monopoly in chicago basically.

Re:Yeah, but it is reliable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050318)

From Wikipedia:
"Should the beam illuminate sections of the vehicle with different reflectivity or the aspect of the vehicle changes during measurement that causes the received signal strength to be changed then the LIDAR unit will reject the measurement thereby producing speed readings of high integrity."

Granted it's not a scientfic journal, but for a slashdot comment thread it will suffice. Perhaps YOU should do some research before posting. They are incredibly accurate, even more so than traditional RADAR guns and much easier to use.

How many cases were thrown out, exactly? (1)

Turzyx (1462339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049288)

Reading TFA, it doesn't state how many cases were thrown out, or indeed the percentage of people caught speeding found with LIDAR technology.

In the UK we have a plethora of fixed speed cameras; it's uncommon to travel down a road with a >30 mph speed limit and not see one, but as far as I am aware, police on traffic duty here still use RADAR based speed detection guns. What is the benefit of LIDAR? Is it more accurate, or just easier to 'aim'? It mentions in the Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] that LIDAR is able to reflect better off non-metallic objects, like aerosols, clouds and even rain, that doesn't exactly sound like the ideal tool for the application...

Re:How many cases were thrown out, exactly? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049374)

"What is the benefit of LIDAR? Is it more accurate, or just easier to 'aim'? "

It doesn't usually set off your radar detector as quickly...so, easier to catch motorists with those...and generate revenue off of them too.

My Valentine One [valentine1.com] is supposed to be one of the best at radar and laser detection, but, down here where I live in southern LA, I haven't really ever seen laser by the cops, I guess they don't have the money down here for that, hell, I still see a LOT of Xband radar used by the cops in the city here in New Orleans.

Re:How many cases were thrown out, exactly? (1)

EXrider (756168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049730)

"What is the benefit of LIDAR? Is it more accurate, or just easier to 'aim'? "

It doesn't usually set off your radar detector as quickly...so, easier to catch motorists with those...and generate revenue off of them too.

My Valentine One [valentine1.com] is supposed to be one of the best at radar and laser detection, but, down here where I live in southern LA, I haven't really ever seen laser by the cops, I guess they don't have the money down here for that, hell, I still see a LOT of Xband radar used by the cops in the city here in New Orleans.

Up here in Greater Cincinnati, I haven't seen X band used in over 10 years, I actually disabled it in city mode on my Escort. Laser on the other hand is all you see on the highways around here, rarely do you ever see K band shot on the highway.

Re:How many cases were thrown out, exactly? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049456)

I guess that means it is also better able to reflect off GWiz [goingreen.co.uk] vehicles. You might, if you try really hard, manage to get a speeding ticket in a 20mph zone in one of them.

Re:How many cases were thrown out, exactly? (1)

EXrider (756168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049834)

It mentions in the Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] that LIDAR is able to reflect better off non-metallic objects, like aerosols, clouds and even rain, that doesn't exactly sound like the ideal tool for the application...

I know this doesn't apply to the fixed speed camera application, but the last time I saw a cop writing (enforcing) speeding tickets out in the rain was... never.

The only bands I've ever seen fixed traffic radars use around here in the US are Ka and sometimes K, both radar.

Re:How many cases were thrown out, exactly? (4, Informative)

GrBear (63712) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049854)

What is the benefit of LIDAR? Is it more accurate, or just easier to 'aim'?

Both actually. RADAR emits a conical wave of energy that literally splatters multiple lanes. The return signal processor can get Doppler signal back from many vehicles, and reports the strongest signal (or fastest in models that support it). It is then up to the officer to visually determine which vehicle is speeding. It's not infallible, and subject to an officer's decision.

LIDAR on the other hand shoots out a very narrow pulsed beam that targets one specific vehicle at a time. Officer's are usually trained to target reflective parts of a vehicle (like headlights, taillights, license plates, etc.)

There is no trying to figure out which vehicle your measuring, you target, pull the trigger and bam, instant accurate speed.. usually within under 1 second so even though your detector has gone off, it's just telling you you're speed as been taken. Reaction time is NIL.

LIDAR generally is less accurate... (5, Informative)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050134)

...in that because its beam is so narrow, that the speed measured is more precisely the speed measured between the target vehicle and the LIDAR gun itself, not necessarily the forward speed of the target vehicle down the road. Since the patrol officer is always sitting off the side of the road, that introduces what's known as the "cosine error" which is actually in the speeder's favor since the LIDAR device will show the officer a slower speed (vehicle's actual forward speed times the cosine of the angle between straight ahead vs a line between the front of the vehicle and where the officer's LIDAR is actually located). Most of the time, the cosine error is negligible, but if the officer is sitting far enough off the side of the actual roadway and the angle is big enough, the cosine error can be several MPH in the speeder's favor.

What about my state? (1)

solosaint (699000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049344)

How would one find out if LIDAR has been proven accurate in my state (AZ)?

Re:What about my state? (0)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049490)

Look at all the manufacturer's cancelled checks and see if any state politicians are mentioned?

Re:What about my state? (1)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049496)

How would one find out if LIDAR has been proven accurate in my state (AZ)?

I don't believe the speed cameras that have gone up recently are LIDAR based, sad too cause I just got a ticket from one when I was going 63 mph.

Re:What about my state? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050676)

How would one find out if LIDAR has been proven accurate in my state (AZ)?

... and if law enforcement will even care?

Law and Science (-1, Flamebait)

PingPongBoy (303994) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049394)

Lawmakers and people don't know shit about science and technology. There is no absolute speed or stationary point. If I drive at 100 mph, I could say that I got in the car, floored it, didn't move an inch while the Earth went 100 mph the other way. In fact, cars and most planes can't even hold still against the Earth's natural rotation, never mind the orbital speed around the sun. Speeding laws will have to be fixed up when ordinary people can fly their own spacecraft.

Re:Law and Science (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049528)

In fact, cars [...] can't even hold still against the Earth's natural rotation

So thats where it went. I thought the worst when I left my keys in the ignition.

Re:Law and Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30049578)

Explain what your point is exactly, as applicable to the real world?

Re:Law and Science (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049648)

You can actually figure out which of the two has occurred with energy conservation.

It still moves [Re:Law and Science] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30049676)

There is no absolute speed or stationary point. If I drive at 100 mph, I could say that I got in the car, floored it, didn't move an inch while the Earth went 100 mph the other way.

Not unless you well above the Arctic circle. Here in moderate latitudes, you'd need a car able to hit about 700 miles per hour to stay stationary with respect to the Earth's rotation-- a lot faster, if you want to stay stationary with respect to orbital motions

Re:Law and Science (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050590)

Lawmakers and people don't know shit about science and technology. There is no absolute speed or stationary point.

But there are relative speeds, which is why your vehicle's speed is always considered to be relative to the surface of the earth.

Lawmakers may not know shit, but you know just enough to fail to notice the blindingly obvious.

Good (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30049418)

Screw them.

Just gone one in FL (0, Troll)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049566)

I just got a radar ticket in FL and plan on fighting it.
The thing that pisses me off is that these cops aren't policing anything, they're tax collecting.
Florida is one of 50 states yet hands out 15% of all traffic tickets.
They think they're doing good and generating revenue but they're hurting everyday innocent Americans.
When you hand out tickets, only the greedy insurance companies win.

I don't even think I was speeding, they said I was doing 62 in a 45 but my ticket has both of those fields blank... possibly because he "cut me a break" and gave me a "violation of a traffic control device" (the speed limit sign).
They always say they're cutting you a break but they're not.... its still points and your insurance goes up.
All states, and Florida in particular need some kind of reform, or give the police more money so they don't need to go stealing it from safe drivers.
Go out and stop real crime.

Re:Just gone one in FL (5, Funny)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049742)

Florida is one of 50 states yet hands out 15% of all traffic tickets.

The residents of Wyoming are going to be pissed if, according to your math, they're going to have to give a dozen speeding tickets to each citizen to bring them up to 2%. Kind of unfair, given they only have 0.17% of the US population.

Re:Just gone one in FL (0, Flamebait)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049790)

... or you could just stop speeding ... and not only laugh at everyone who's being pulled over to pay the "speed tax", but also save on fuel. You know, instead of whining like a spoiled brat.

Re:Just gone one in FL (1)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049992)

You don't even have to be speeding to get a speeding ticket in some states, you just have to commit the offense of having out of state plates in the wrong area (hello Ohio turnpike).

Re:Just gone one in FL (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050078)

The only problem with that is that if everyone stops 'speeding' revenue will fall and they will lower the speed limits. Don't believe me, look into the way yellow light durations have been reduced to make red light cameras more profitable. When speed limits were reasonable your arguement to 'just don't speed' made sence. But since the double nickle, govt's have found an easy duck to shoot for money. And nannys like you back them up.

Re:Just gone one in FL (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049950)

Florida is one of 50 states yet hands out 15% of all traffic tickets.

Out of curiosity, is this the highest percentage in the US by any one state?

Re:Just gone one in FL (1)

hockeyc (1675766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050022)

Have you seen how terrible the drivers in Florida are?

Re:Just gone one in FL (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050126)

I'm pretty sure he cut you a break on the actual fine part of the ticket.

Re:Just gone one in FL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050176)

STOP SPEEDING, IDIOT. You were going more than 10 over, and you expect to not get a ticket if a cop sees you?
 

Go out and stop real crime.

People like you speed because they aren't paying attention, and then people get killed. I know someone who was killed recently in FL due to idiots like you who "don't even think they were speeding". Going with the flow of traffic is good, even if they are speeding, but if you are singled out and get a ticket then you were doing something to make yourself stand out.

Don't try to win, change the game (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050308)

The thing that pisses me off is that these cops aren't policing anything, they're tax collecting. Florida is one of 50 states yet hands out 15% of all traffic tickets. They think they're doing good and generating revenue but they're hurting everyday innocent Americans.

Someone has to pay for their gas to go answer domestic violence calls. If you don't like paying tickets, stop driving. I have used mass transit for a decade now, and I haven't had a single problem with tickets...

Re:Don't try to win, change the game (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050536)

Someone has to pay for their gas to go answer domestic violence calls.

Someone will pay for it -- either through speeding revenue or through direct taxes.

Re:Just gone one in FL (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050526)

Go out and stop real crime.

Hehe! One of my old cop friend's favorite lines.

Motorist: "Why don't you go out and catch some real criminals?"
Cop: "I am." [Hands person who just broke the law a ticket.]

Good (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30049882)

I'm glad somebody is standing up to this junk science. Remember, the so-called "Doppler effect" is nothing more than a theory. There are still many unanswered questions to resolve before it's conclusively proven that we can measure velocity of solid objects with nothing more than ethereal laser beams. Correlation is not causation. These self-appointed "physicists" can't even get their act together on whether laser beams are waves or particles, for crying out loud! How can they get away with fining people if they don't even know what they're emitting?

Re:Good (0, Troll)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 4 years ago | (#30049970)

We're talking about science here, not your night emissions.

Defendent intimidation (1)

kabloom (755503) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050180)

This still has the sound of defendant intimidation. While it may be true that the judges are throwing out these cases, in every case where the city government asks for a Frye hearing, the procedure intimidates the defendants into just paying the fine rather than trying to stand up against unproven technology.

Huh? (1)

scheme (19778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050608)

This still has the sound of defendant intimidation. While it may be true that the judges are throwing out these cases, in every case where the city government asks for a Frye hearing, the procedure intimidates the defendants into just paying the fine rather than trying to stand up against unproven technology.

What else is the government supposed to do? The admissibility is being challenged by the defendant so the prosecution agrees to a Frye hearing to defend the admissibility of the lidar readings. When the defendents challenge the lidar technology, they're requesting a Frye hearing so the prosecution agreeing to one isn't intimidation.

Dead link - here's a CLUE (5, Funny)

nsayer (86181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050206)

I have the solution!

It was Colonel Tribune, with the forward-slash, on the URL.

Why? (0, Troll)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050364)

Why is Slashdot so obsessed with reporting about speeding tickets and other moving violations? It doesn't seem to fit particularly well with the stated intention of the site.

Radar POP mode (5, Informative)

EXrider (756168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30050390)

I would be more concerned with the legality of MPH Industries' radar POP mode [valentine1.com] . In summary, the company is marketing radar guns with a mode that allows officers to obtain speed readings that are at best, inaccurate. Of course, the only place a warning about the inaccuracy of this mode is found, is in the radar's instruction manual. How many police officers do you think read the instruction manuals that accompany their equipment? Reports of people "getting POPped" [valentine1.com] have shown up in WV, OH, GA, NV, NJ, and NY.

"POP is mode that emits a very brief (67 millisecond) pulse of radar to determine the speed. Its meant to defeat radar detectors. It works because the local oscillator sweep (the "tuner") in most detectors, (especially cheap ones) is too slow to notice this brief pulse. Newer and more expensive detectors have solved this by making a little detour during the sweep to check for POP. It's like flipping through the channels on your TV, but going back to check if your favourite show has started on channel 2 every so often. Except in a radar detector this is happening hundreds of times per second.

POP can be inaccurate because the electronics in the police radar don't have time enough to stabilize. It's like suddenly jumping on your bathroom scale. The pointer with fluctuate violently until it settles down on the the true reading. With POP it can sometimes indicate an inaccurate speed due to this instability. "

bit3h (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30050566)

they Learn from our Trying to dissect
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