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State Patrol Airplanes Enforce Highway Speed

Posted Wednesday, January 20, 2016 by Andrew Charles Huff

I was speaking with a woman in court about a ticket and she was incredulous that her speed was based on a Washington State Patrol aircraft. But it’s true the State Patrol regularly use aircraft to estimate drivers speed down below. Here’s how it works. Highways have strategically-placed hash marks next to them. As a driver travels between two lines, the pilot above measures the time it takes the vehicle to travel between the two distances. Based upon the travel distance, the pilot estimates the vehicle’s speed. The pilot then radios the information down below to a trooper he or she is working with. That trooper then conducts a traffic stop of the vehicle. But like radar, this method is full of flaws and inaccuracies. At contested hearings, I regularly challenge the accuracy of this method with great success.

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