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08/04/2010

New Laser System Captures Speeders with Built-In Digital Video Camera

In their ongoing battle to thwart speeders, traffic enforcement departments now have access to a new laser speed gun that captures offenders on video. The device not only will prove effective for speeding cases in courtrooms, but could greatly drive down the rates of accidents and highway deaths tied to speeding.

This is what Laser Technology, Inc. (LTI) of Centennial, Colorado believes as it offers the LTI 20-20 TruCAM speed enforcement tool integrating a laser speed detection system with a built-in video camera. LTI’s new product records a complete chain of video evidence and creates a high resolution image that identifies vehicle make and model, license plate number and facial characteristics of the driver.

Versatile Feature Set

TruCAM’s video camera is the primary capability among several others packed into the innovative speed monitoring system. A Dual Speed Mode in TruCAM can be toggled to instantly differentiate between cars and commercial vehicles and then apply the correct preset speed limit. TruCAM users also can add a Distance Between Cars (DBC) mode for “Following Too Closely” violations. Operating in the “Video Only Mode,” TruCAM instantly records speeding as well as other violations such as blocking traffic, failure to wear a safety belt and misuse of HOV lanes.

Pinpoints Specific Vehicles

Officer Dale Farmer with the Kingsport, Tennessee, Police Department has used the TruCAM and feels it’s a timely tool for the mounting needs of traffic enforcement. Supporting his belief is the fact that about 85 percent of collisions in the department’s jurisdiction are due to speed.

“One thing I see is the versatility of it (TruCAM),” Officer Farmer said. “With standard radar, it has such a wide band that you pick up the largest object, but it may not be the fastest. With the lidar, you can pinpoint individual vehicles, which makes (the TruCAM) easier to use. With the increase of heavy traffic over the years, this is about the only way you could work speed enforcement effectively.”

In using the LTI 20-20 TruCAM, Officer Farmer reveals he can measure speeding violations and still pinpoint vehicles since traffic is heavy around his jurisdiction’s interstate and state highways.

Increased speeding on roadways also plagues the Ridgecrest, California, Police Department. According to Officer Bill Keys, 70 percent of collisions involve people driving over the posted speed limit.

“Our traffic collisions are absolutely through the roof,” Officer Keys said. “We’re averaging over 500 traffic collisions a year.”
Consequently, tools such as LTI’s TruCAM will significantly help slow down speeders.

Device Helps Make Speeders More Accountable

“One of the biggest trends we’re seeing with drivers is that nobody wants to be held accountable for his actions,” Officer Keys said. “As officers, we’re going to have to take more proof with us into the courtroom to hold people accountable for their actions (with speeding).”

With the ability for traffic enforcement officers to catch a speeder on video, however, this will most likely stop arguments in the car when an officer approaches a violator with the speeding violation caught on camera.

Officer Keys also uses speed enforcement technology to educate speeders. “When people challenge us, we ask them to get out of the car for a demo of the laser gun,” he said. “We even have them test the gun for themselves.”

Still another big advantage with speed enforcement lasers is the ability to get a quicker signal reading. “The LTI laser catches the (speeding) cars and locks in a speed faster, although the frequencies of signal going out and back is the same,” Officer Keys said.

Courts’ Acceptance of Speeders on Video Expected

David Williams, LTI, Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer, believes the TruCAM will make a substantial difference in speed enforcement for law enforcement agencies. “For the first time in this industry, we’ve successfully integrated a camera (for digital still and video images), central processing unit and speed laser all in one housing,” Williams explains. “The TruCAM is a good bridge to help police agencies around the country introduce camera systems as a gradual transition.”

A looming question is whether or not the courts will accept video evidence of speeding violations. Williams is confident they will.

“One reason to feel it would be accepted is that police agencies nationwide more and more are using in-car video,” Williams said. “The courts have been very receptive to these systems.”

The TruCAM will do more than merely pinpoint and document speeders with its built-in video camera. Officer Farmer believes the TruCAM will actually help people change their driving habits.

“I see this being a great deterrent to driver speeding and getting drivers to pay more attention to technology out there,” Officer Farmer said. “It will mean higher officer safety, too.”


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