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Speeding: Radar Gun vs. GPS

Thursday, July 17, 2008 - by Daniel A. Begun

While an 11-year old, Louisville, Kentucky boy is using a toy radar gun to get drivers to slow down through his neighborhood, the police are finding that real radar guns might not be a match for GPS--at least not when contested in court.

According to a press release issued by Rocky Mountain Tracking, an 18-year old man, Shaun Malone, was able to successfully contest a speeding ticket in court using the data from a GPS device installed in his car. This wasn't just any old make-a-left-turn-100-feet-ahead-onto-Maple-Street GPS; this was a vehicle tracking GPS device--the kind used by trucking fleets--or in this case, overprotective parents. The device was installed in Malone's car by his parents, and the press release makes no mention if the teenager knew that the device was installed in his vehicle at the time.

No matter, because Malone knew by the time he had to show up in court to contest the speeding ticket for going 17-mph over the posted 45-mph speed limit. While the police clocked him going 62-mph, the GPS's data in fact showed him driving at the 45-mph speed limit. In an initial trial-by-affidavit, Malone was found guilty of speeding. GPS expert, Dr. Stephen Heppe wrote a report that essentially said that the GPS data was not accurate enough to contest the accuracy of the radar gun. Malone appealed the decision and had his day in court. At trial, things played out differently:

"However, when he took the stand to begin his testimony, Dr. Heppe corrected that written report, saying that the Rocky Mountain Tracking device was "very" accurate, to within a couple of meters on location and to within 1 mph on speed. Dr. Heppe also pointed out that the GPS device released instantaneous data, and not data averaged over a distance."

Needless to say, with Dr. Heppe's revised testimony, Malone was found innocent of speeding.

Obviously, Rocky Mountain Tracking's motivation for publicizing this incident is to promote the accuracy of its RMT Rover GPS device. But it also brings up a larger issue: The sophistication of vehicle telematics is increasing all the time. Are we now at the point that the data generated from our personal location devices (such as GPS in cell phones and in-car navigation devices) is considered reliable enough to help exonerate us from false accusations? But isn't this also a slippery slope, where the same data can be used to incriminate us as well? It's one thing for parents to keep a close eye on their kids, but what happens when jealous spouses are tracked, or law enforcement uses the data to know where you've been. When does it become an invasion of privacy?

http://www.hothardware.com/News/Speeding_Radar_Gun_vs_GPS/
 

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"However, when he took the stand to begin his testimony, Dr. Heppe corrected that written report, saying that the Rocky Mountain Tracking device was "very" accurate, to within a couple of meters on location and to within 1 mph on speed. Dr. Heppe also pointed out that the GPS device released instantaneous data, and not data averaged over a distance."


Two points:

1. Looks like Rocky Mountain Tracking may have gotten to him and paid some bucks for his "expert" testimony and "professional" opinion! (JMO)

2. All instruments that measure speed do so by averaging over a distance. You cannot compute the speed of anything that is not going from point "A" to point "B" - that includes GPS. Looks like the trial magistrate was overly impressed with credentials and not facts and accuracy.
 

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Grim reaper
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Well boys......continue to stick with estimate as a your first reason for looking at a vehicle, confirming by radar, Lidar, clock, etc. Estimate is based on training & experience. Time & distance = speed.

You can GPS until you reach the moon, but its all the same principles courtesy of Sir Issac Newton.
 

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These devices are all well and good, but if they are not professionally calibrated on a semi-regular basis, they are as good as garbage in court. Bring up when the last time this particular device was tested for accuracy.
 
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The day is coming (or may be here) where the sworn testimony of a police officer, under oath, will be regularly disregarded.
It's already here. You would think a judge would place enough credence in a police officer's 20 years experience in dealing with drunks to know if someone was drunk or not, but no.

Whatever. I just laugh and get my court overtime slip signed. Unless it directly effects me or my family, I'm past the point of caring about it.
 

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Grim reaper
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Whatever. I just laugh and get my court overtime slip signed. Unless it directly effects me or my family, I'm past the point of caring about it.
PatriotLiarcom

QUINCY-The president of the Quincy Patrolman's Union has stated publicly on a pro police website that he doesn't care about drunk driving instead focusing on collecting overtime pay rather than protecting the public. Bruce Tate posted "unless it directly effects me or my family, I'm past the point of caring about it". It is this kind of reckless disregard for duty that should cause the public concern. When asked for a comment to clarify his remarks, Tate kicked our reporter in the ass, called us a bunch of lying liberal nutjobs, and told us we couldnt find a story with both hands and a flashlight.

This is part one of a two part series. Next week read about how Tate actually knew that about us.

:-D I figured I'd beat them to it Delta!!!
 

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...he doesn't care about drunk driving instead focusing on collecting overtime pay rather than protecting the public. Bruce Tate posted "unless it directly effects me or my family, I'm past the point of caring about it". It is this kind of reckless disregard for duty that should cause the public concern...
What a reckless and ill conceived statement. It is totally disputing the staatement it makes.

Question: If the officer doesn't care about drunk driving, how can he possibly gain overtime?

You get overtime by arresting suspsected offenders, placiing them in jail and then attending court for the overtime. If the offender has been arrested, s/he is no longer a threat to the community and is, therefore, no longer a concern at that point to the welfare of the community!

I am so totally disillusioned by the media I get wretched, violent episodes of vomiting and diarrhea when I read unadulterated sputum like that above. :uc:
 
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PatriotLiarcom

QUINCY-The president of the Quincy Patrolman's Union has stated publicly on a pro police website that he doesn't care about drunk driving instead focusing on collecting overtime pay rather than protecting the public. Bruce Tate posted "unless it directly effects me or my family, I'm past the point of caring about it". It is this kind of reckless disregard for duty that should cause the public concern. When asked for a comment to clarify his remarks, Tate kicked our reporter in the ass, called us a bunch of lying liberal nutjobs, and told us we couldnt find a story with both hands and a flashlight.

This is part one of a two part series. Next week read about how Tate actually knew that about us.

:-D I figured I'd beat them to it Delta!!!
It's not often I laugh out loud when reading something, but that one did it! :cool:
 
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