ISP uses radar and laser to verify speeders

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - The Idaho State Police say in Idaho laser and radar devices that are used by police departments aren't regulated or certified by any state agency. They say that each department polices themselves on the accuracy of their device when they look for speeders. But ISP say that they rely on the experience of the officer and use the speed device to verify if someone is speeding.

ISP says that with a laser device you have to point to which car you want to check. Radar takes all the cars that are out there and the officer has to determine which car is speeding. Sgt Fred Rice says that may be hard if there are a pack of cars moving together or a huge semi is close by.

Sgt Rice pointed out that motorcycles can be hard to track if they are in a group of cars. But they can see them because their headlight is very reflective. But the Sgt says there are cars that are harder to detect than others. "It might take a second or two on a car that's very low key, fiberglass, it doesn't have a lot of reflective surface, but it's still going to get a reading off of it eventually," Rice said.

If you ever wonder why front license plates are required by Idaho law, it actually helps the trooper. The Sgt said, "It has to be on the front bumper. That's where the license plate has to be. And guess what? A license plate is very reflective."

There are some roads and highways that radar devices don't work at tracking speeders according the Sgt Rice, he said, "You can get interference from electrical lines, you can get interference from neon lights, things such as that."

ISP says that about one 1 out of 150 tickets go to court. Troopers say their best argument is that they rely on experience and use the devices as back up. "The officer is actually telling the court how fast that vehicle is going and we're just verifying with the apparatus," Rice said.

ISP says it's not the color of the car they look for but there are signs that will get you caught for speeding. "What stands out is when a car is out there all by themselves going really fast. That's what we look for," Sgt Rice said.

ISP says that radar detectors are legal in Idaho but they only tell you when you are being tracked. They say that jammers are illegal in Idaho but the ones that are on the market aren't that good. ISP says that the biggest excuse that they get from a driver for speeding is that they weren't paying attention.