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  #1  
Old 10-22-2001, 11:43 AM
apb apb is offline
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Question Protection from laser guns . .. .

A friend of mine got pulled over this weekend for going 78 in a 55
Since laser guns are new to his area (his radar detector used to work well but has no radar function), is there any way someone can adequately be protected from these.

I know there are some gun scrambler that work from a special front license plate frame, but there may be other options.

Also, how safe are those? It seems pretty scary that the laser could be inadvertently pointed to the driver's eyes.
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2001, 12:58 PM
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Laser is light. They use the doppler effect to bounce it of your car. Unlike radio frequency Radar it is more difficult to "jam". Be carefull there are Federal laws dealing with jamming.

Here we are rquired to stop both directions when a school bus is loading or unloading. Also to pull over and stop, yielding to emergency vehicles. Failure to do so is a hefty fine, they take it very seriously. Also 25mph school zones, strictly enforced. The crossing guard will turn your plate in.
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Old 10-22-2001, 01:16 PM
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Laser is also FAST! By the time you (or your detector) realizes you are being clocked, it's too late!

In every state I've ever lived in, school zones were hallowed! Stiff fines accompanied violators.

I once got pulled over in a school zone for doing 25 in a 20 during a school break! I got off with a warning, but the officer wanted to stress the importance of obeying the posting, even if school may or may not be in session...weekends excluded.
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  #4  
Old 10-22-2001, 01:17 PM
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the license plate laser "foils" are meant to prevent photographs of your license plate. they do this by reflecting light at angles similar to what a photo-laser trap will use to snap your license plate. it does not scramble laser, nor is it of any use for other than photo-laser traps (unmanned traps).

there are scramblers out there that emit ir and are mounted at the obvious targets such as the headlights but i have yet to see any report that says that they work...
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  #5  
Old 10-22-2001, 01:29 PM
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Unlike radar, with it's relatively diffuse pattern of coverage, laser must be aimed precisely at your car to read your speed. As the timing of the reflection of the beam is the basis for determining your speed, most cops aim at either a flat vertical surface, like a front license plate, or headlights, with their parabolic reflectors seemingly tailor-made for this purpose. Owing to the need for such precise aim, and the speed in which the laser gun calculates your speed, even the best laser detector is only good for telling you to pull over and smile at the nice officer. I recall reading tests performed in a major car magazine a few years ago suggesting that:

1. A car with hidden headlights in their stored position is a LITTLE more difficult to track, as the headlight reflectors are not in a perfectly vertical position.

2. A white car, owing to the light reflective qualities of that color, is a LITTLE easier to track than an otherwise identical black car, owing to the light absorbing qualities of the color black.

3. Tilting the angle of your front license plate a few degrees can't hurt, but won't make you invulnerable.

4. The larger the frontal surface area of a car, the easier the target.

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  #6  
Old 10-22-2001, 01:34 PM
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So lasers are fast.
What does anybody know about the "blinder" or Snooper SLD920 which appear to scramble the signal, allowing one to slow down and turn off the unit for a lower laser gun reading.
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Old 10-22-2001, 03:18 PM
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Gee, and I was thinking the correct answer may just to be driving relatively close to the posted speed limit, not 20+ mph over.
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  #8  
Old 10-22-2001, 03:46 PM
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Yes, indeed my friend will now only drive the speed limit.
He now understands that speed enforcement is solely intended to protect citizens, was never based on the oil embargo of the 70s, and never became an important source of revenue on which local governments depend.

In addition, he now also understands that only speed limit violations should be enforced in the US and never the lack of use of turn signals or failure to return to the right lane to allow cars to pass. After all, if one likes the left lane better s/he should be able to use it and not yield to traffic, even possibly slam on the brakes to make others slow down. It is important to take enforcement in our own hands!

Further, improperly maintained cars should never be pulled over as unsafe, especially if they are bouncing on and off the road. After all, if someone cannot afford new shocks, that person cannot afford a ticket - and everyone, even drunks, should have a constitutional right to drive, or at least to promptly get their license reinstated. Not to mention, that not everyone should be required to carry insurance and that people should be freely able to shave, speak on the phone, or put on makeup.

Thank you to those that had constructive opinions on the technology of laser guns. Let's start a new discussions on oil where we can all be opinionated!
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  #9  
Old 10-22-2001, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Gee, and I was thinking the correct answer may just to be driving relatively close to the posted speed limit, not 20+
I believe Ron Miller answered your initial question.

I don't think anyone that has posted on this thread inferred that other vehicular infractions should be condoned and that speeders alone should be targeted.

The point is, other than emergency vehicles, there is never a case where doing 20+ over is acceptable behavior.

There are enough of us that breach the speed limit regularly enough to keep local law enforcement extremely busy. They DO stop other violators as well, but the overwhelming majority are speeders!

Those other violators do what they do consistently, and they will eventually get caught as well.

I had a friend stopped for what she considered no reason, only to receive a ticket for using her cell phone while driving, as well as (she conceded) that her oldest child was not belted in properly (the cop noticed that too). I would like to think the officer saw a potential for an unhappy (and possibly fatal) ending with an unbelted child climbing over bench seats while the SUV-driving mom was oblivious to all that was going on around her while chatting on the phone.

You can take issue with the motivation behind the posted speed limits, but not ALL posted speed limits are bureaucratic.

I know I looked at the excruciatingly slow 20mph school zones in a different light when I got a child of my own, and tried to get her to school safely amid frazzled soccer moms in SUVs with a Starbuck's in one hand, a cell phone in another, and a few screamers in the back seat!

And yes, unsafe vehicles DO get stopped...maybe not when you are witness to it, but they do. I used to encounter a particular older truck on the highway every evening on the highway with NO operational taillights...almost ran into him once.

It was almost two weeks before I saw the same truck pulled over for it. Never saw the truck on the road again!

Here in Keller, the force wants to keep this a bedroom town. So it already has a metro-wide reputation for ticket haven. So if you speed, get drunk, don't use turn signals, or they don't work at all, you WILL get stopped HERE! They will easily pull over the freshly coiffed blonde in the drop-top SL as they will a carload of teenagers on a Friday night. No profiling here!

Maybe police officers where you live single out speeders especially unfairly ticketing those who innocently go 20+ over the posted speed limit. I am sorry that this has taken a sarcastic tone, but this is in light of what may be an unfair assessment of how our police community chooses to enforce the laws of the road.

That said, let's talk about oil...
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  #10  
Old 10-22-2001, 07:23 PM
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Thanks for the technical information. Surely, you too know not to speed!
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  #11  
Old 10-22-2001, 11:40 PM
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Thumbs down

Amen!
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  #12  
Old 10-23-2001, 01:14 AM
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Why waste your money on Radar Detectors and all that crap?

GO THE SPEED LIMIT.

It really isn't that hard, think of it this way: it saves wear and tear on your gas pedal, brake pedal and brake pads from when your constantly slaming on em to avoid Mrs. Daisy.


I've seen friends get brand new (insert name of excessively large engines American "Sports Car" here) the next day they get a Radar detector thinking their car is uber fast. At lunch time as I'm coming back I see em by the side of the road getting their ticket from the local Cop thats assigned to the High School that month. Their little plan to speed back to school to save time made them late in most cases.

All while I chug by in my faithful Diesel Sedan.
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  #13  
Old 10-23-2001, 01:57 AM
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Hmmm, seems as though this thread has digressed a bit, but I will add my 2 cents worth anyway.

For many years I have always traveled with a radar, going all the way back to the infamous Escort. I now roll with a Valentine 1 and it has saved my butt many many times.

We can debate the issue of whether or not you have enough time to respond to a laser, but in reality your detector is going to pick up the laser being shot at someone else way before you even get in range of it. This is your safety net! My V1 picked up one pulse of laser about 1 mile away! I almost thought it was a false alarm, but decided to play it safe (since there was a known speed trap up ahead) and stay at the speed limit till I pass the local hot spots. Sure enough, state trooper with his new laser came into view, when I was in range, he hit me not once but three times. Guess he just could not believe a Corvette was actually doing the speed limit.
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  #14  
Old 10-23-2001, 02:30 AM
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O.K. Now people...

This thread was started with a technical question. It deteriorated into something less than technical in nature. Everyone has an opinion. Nobody wants to hear anyone else's opinion unless it is congruent with his or her own. Enough said.

If anyone cares to know, this is how speed limits are set in California: An unmarked car will sit at the desired location where the "traffic engineering survey" is to be taken. The person in the car utilizes a radar gun to record the speed of all vehicular traffic. The speed limit is then calculated as the 80th percentile of the speed of all the traffic recorded during the survey. Therefore 20 percent of future traffic will be in violation of the newly established speed limit, regardless of the drivers prudence (or lack thereof). This type of traffic engineering survey is performed wherever a clear speed limit cannot be ascertained via roadway engineering considerations, or where prevailing state law is clearly applicable.

Technical info:
Regarding the laser radiation -- not only is the intensity very low (I forgot how many milliwatts), but it is also in the infrared spectrum (904 nanometers to be precise). The human eye does not register this wavelength. The method of jamming a laser signal is to feed enough infrared light back to the laser gun to overwhelm its own reflected signal, thereby confusing the gun. This is how the commercial units work (or don't work, depending upon the source of information).

Legal info:
It is definitely illegal to jam a radar signal, as it requires the use of radar transmitting equipment and therefore the operator and the equipment must be licensed by the FCC. The commercially available laser jammers are kind of in a gray area here. While it is technically not illegal to transmit infrared light, it can still be construed as interfering with the official duties of the officer operating the equipment -- such interference is definitely frowned upon, and theoretically could land you in jail.

FYI:
The Automobile Association of America (AAA) has for many years now ‘donated’ speed-measuring equipment (meaning radar guns) to innumerable police agencies throughout the U.S. It may be hard to believe but at one time the AAA used to organize racing events, predating the SCCA. Now that they are in the auto insurance business, they have discovered that is fiscally prudent to enhance the revenue generating capabilities of police agencies. Remember that when you receive a ticket, it is not just the traffic fine that is being paid -- insurance companies see a fringe benefit from additional ‘points’ to on your license.

If anyone knows of a source where 904 nanometer LEDs can be purchased, please let me know. I am quite serious -- I researched this sometime ago but could not find a source for the LEDs. It should be fairly simple matter to construct a do-it-yourself project. This of course would be used for experimental purposes only.

RTH
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  #15  
Old 10-23-2001, 04:47 AM
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JCT,

I would like to thank you for the information on where to buy the LEDs. My wish to obtain the LEDs should not be construed *in any way whatsoever* that I would ever condone driving in an irresponsible manner. The main problem is people’s lack of capability in determining where the line is drawn between responsible and irresponsible driving practices.

I am truly and sincerely saddened by your loss. It is absolutely horrific when an innocent person dies at the hands of another. In a perfect world it would never happen. Yet even in this world it happens far, far too often. No matter how strong the laws & and deterrents are, it seems there's no shortage of incompetent people, or just plain morons, on the road.

There are so many factors that lead to tragic events such as that endured by your family.

The licensing laws in this country are utterly pathetic. I truly believe that the vast majority of people that are currently licensed have absolutely no business being behind the wheel of a potentially deadly device. Human frailties as well as peoples own self-delusions regarding their capabilities are the primary cause of all vehicular accidents. Equipment failure is relatively rare -- brain failure is not. People with absolutely no sense of spatial relations. People lacking understanding of the deadly forces that are incurred even at relatively low speeds. People that think that they are great drivers, when they are in fact a grave danger. (Is there even one single person reading this that doesn't think of him/herself as possessing above-average capabilities when it comes to driving? Simple statistics -- Surely we cannot *all* be above average.) Even a competition license does not necessarily convey a guarantee of proficiency (go to a regional SCCA race to see what I mean ).

I do however reject what has happened to our traffic enforcement system. I agree that when a person receives a ticket, they more than likely deserved it. However, they most likely deserved it due to their lack of attention -- if they were paying attention they would have seen the cop. Lack of attention, *even at or below* the speed limit, is cause enough for a ticket (in my opinion). If you're oblivious to a cop crawling all over your rear bumper you deserve not just a ticket; you should lose your license just on principle. But when the police are hiding behind bushes with a radar gun, it just doesn't seem "fair". Fairness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. No matter what the posted speed limit is on any given section of road, it will not make up for ignorance, stupidity, and lack of common sense.

Our police have been turned into a primary source of revenue collection. This takes away from their real purpose, which is to protect the lives of the citizens, and ensure the enforcement of our laws. Reasonable laws. Laws which do not turn every citizen into a lawbreaker -- it is not just the fact that everyone, even inadvertently, has exceeded the posted speed limit at some time in their lives. Procedures that assure that 20 percent of all drivers on a particular section of road are lawbreakers are unreasonable (see my prior post). Artificially low speed limits, posted in particular areas, with the intent of generating revenue, are unreasonable.

There has to be a reasonable balance obtained. Stricter testing and licensing procedures would be a welcome change; however political pressures assure us that that will never happen -- people think that driving is a right rather than a privilege. If the powers that be in this country truly wished to make our roads safer, we would have much stricter laws regarding drunk driving, particularly repeat offenders. An ex-girlfriend of mine lived in Saudi Arabia for two years -- she told me the following, and I have no reason to doubt what she told me: If a foreigner is caught driving drunk, they are deported immediately, never to be allowed into the country again. If a Saudi national is caught driving while drunk, the police will pull the driver out of the car and put a bullet in their head. Right on the spot. That may be a *tad* too draconian, but it is surely a tremendous deterrent.

Enough rambling – it’s late & I’m beginning to go a bit brain dead myself. There's a good chance that I'll look at this post tomorrow and wish that I had not posted it without reviewing it with a clear head in the morning.

RTH
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