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Old 06-04-2010, 04:25 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Visual speed estimates by police are guesses with no formula, just practice, to guide




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It's all guessing. Or, as the man in charge of police training standards for the entire state puts it, "dead reckoning."

New police officers in Ohio receive no scientific training in estimating speeds of drivers in basic training. There's no timing of cars over fixed distances, no special methods of determining an actual speed, nothing with stopwatches.

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William Neff, The Plain Dealer There is just a repetition of watching cars go by and guessing speeds, then seeing how the guesses matches up with what the radar says.

"There is no formula to apply," said Robert Fiatal, executive director of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission. "It's kind of a dead-reckoning kind of thing."

An Ohio Supreme Court ruling Wednesday made a police officer's visual estimate of speed enough to make a speeding ticket stick. Though that had been the case in most of the state, the appeals court covering Cuyahoga County had required more than an officer's guess: radar readings or comparing a vehicle's speed to the speedometer reading in a police cruiser.

The court ruled that an officer's estimate can hold up all by itself if an officer is trained by the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy or a similar academy and has experience gauging speeds.

The number of states that use that standard could not be determined Wednesday. Pennsylvania and Nebraska require more than just a visual speed estimate, though officers in those states have leeway to say a vehicle was traveling at an unsafe speed.



The Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission sets standards that all students in the more than 70 police academies in the state must meet to graduate. Officials from the police academies in Cleveland Heights and at Cuyahoga Community College each said they use the state curriculum.
Cleveland Heights Lt. Larry Shaffer said officers are taught to track - follow behind -- vehicles suspected of speeding to determine speed, but the required state training allows a reasonable estimate.

"Before you would be certified you have to be fairly accurate with the naked eye," he said.

Visually estimating the speed of vehicles is only a small part of a five-hour unit on speed, which also includes lessons on stopping distance, benefits of speed enforcement, types of speed laws, how to track a given vehicle and how to fill out a traffic ticket.

Traffic radar used to be part of basic training for all officers, but each department now trains its own officers in using the radar or laser system it owns.

State standards call for students to use four principles to estimate vehicle speeds: their own knowledge and experience in watching traffic, watching vehicles move past stationary objects, seeing if a vehicle is moving in an unusual way like bouncing or the driver is driving erratically.
But the required curriculum doesn't tell students how to determine a specific speed using those principles.

Instructors must take students to areas with different kinds of traffic and have them estimate speeds. The instructor would use radar on the vehicle so the student can compare results.

"You just refine that and refine that by looking at the radar," Fiatal said.

Standards call for students to estimate speeds of 20 vehicles and the instructor to calculate the difference between the estimate and the actual speed. Students pass if the average difference is five miles per hour or less.

Fiatal said that training is "certainly a start" for new officers to learn to estimate speeds. He said when they learn to use radar they will have more chances to measure their impressions against radar readings. As they gain more experience, guesses will be more educated.
http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010...s_by_poli.html
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:35 AM   #2
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I've been frequently passing police at 90+ in the Viper, usually in the slow lane, and they haven't come after me. Granted their radar is off (could be using laser). It must not look like it's going that fast on the highway.
This would have never flown in the STi.

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Old 06-04-2010, 08:41 AM   #3
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Wow this is really takin off.

I went th school with the guy that got the ticket that spawned this whole debate. I also submitted it to Autoblog.

The highway that it all took place on is one that I'm on everyday.
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:52 AM   #4
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I cannot believe this crap is flying. Visual estimate based on a guess? This has got to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard. So basically the police officer can look at his quota for the week and say, that every driver he sees is speeding...no possible way to prove your innocence.
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:04 AM   #5
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I got a ticket like this before in TX (when I lived there). I had not had a ticket in 4 years at the time and went to court (since I was innocent). Needless to say I lost even after proving there was basically no way the officer was correct in my speed.

The annoying thing was I saw the officer. I was at a complete stop. I drove away from the stoplight carefully monitoring my speed since I had seen him. The officer was stuck behind a car turning. Then he comes bursting over the hill with his lights flashing (while I am stopped at the next light). He says do you know how fast you were going. I say yes and tell him. He says I was speeding. I asked if he used his radar, he says he watched and it looked like I was speeding. Anyway the speed he said I was going was basically impossible to attain between the two lights and he even agreed with me after the appearance in court, but the judge did not. Got the fine reduced to the same as defensive driving cost, but insurance of course goes up still.

Lesson was learned though. Don't bother standing up for your rights
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:13 AM   #6
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WOW, really, WOW.
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:25 AM   #7
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The guessing is just part of it. With a radar/laser gun, I think some models can provide a printout or evidence of the reading. With this example, there's no evidence of you speeding other than the officer's word. Now, I'm not questioning the word of all officers, but just like in any other profession, there are bad apples. An officer could just pull one over (for any reason, the way you look?) and say, 'hey I think you were going over the speed limit' with nothing to back it up.

Also, in many states, penalities for speeding is based on exact speeds, 1-9 over, 10-14 over, 15-19 over and over 20. There is a big difference in penalities when one is caught speeding 19 over vs 20 over. There's also a big difference in how your insurance responds to these types of tickets as well.

On the other hand, this opens the door in court to argue, not that you weren't speeding, but how much were you speeding. Maybe one could argue down that over 20 ticket to a 19 over ticket.
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:39 AM   #8
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If I received a speeding ticket from a guess, I would take it to court. I would ask the cop, "you can tell how fast something is moving just by watching?" I'd then pull out a quarter, drop it on the floor, and ask, "how fast was that moving, chief."
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:44 AM   #9
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"Dead reckoning"??

I "rekon" there will be some pretty full courtrooms too...
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:38 PM   #10
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i was thinking about a gtr...but i feel like this would get me too much police attention. ill keep this viper and look like an old man driving it. they dont pull you over for this.
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:57 PM   #11
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great, now all a cop has to say is 'i think you were speeding' to pull you over so he can snoop around for other things he can nail you for

my issue is, more often than not, driving the speed limit or going 5-10mph over looks like i'm flying cause the majority of motorists can't seem to get close to the speed limit
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Old 06-04-2010, 01:53 PM   #12
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Thats it. I now have enough motivation to buy a dash camera. Constant recording loop of 8 hours. Not too expensive either.

There pretty cheap and can come in handy. My GF's dad in California got out of a ticket using one earlier this year.

I still can't believe this "reckoning" can hold up in court.....
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Old 06-04-2010, 01:54 PM   #13
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evasive motorsports has the gopro hd for $300 including motorsports mount.
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Old 06-04-2010, 01:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by nhat View Post
great, now all a cop has to say is 'i think you were speeding' to pull you over so he can snoop around for other things he can nail you for

my issue is, more often than not, driving the speed limit or going 5-10mph over looks like i'm flying cause the majority of motorists can't seem to get close to the speed limit
+1 on this
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by xsnapshot View Post
Thats it. I now have enough motivation to buy a dash camera. Constant recording loop of 8 hours. Not too expensive either.

There pretty cheap and can come in handy. My GF's dad in California got out of a ticket using one earlier this year.

I still can't believe this "reckoning" can hold up in court.....
be careful tho. recording (video or audio) a police officer without their written consent is a felony.
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:08 PM   #16
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It's like most other traffic violations. Officers generally aren't using a visual speed estimate for a lone car out minding its own business on an empty road. But if the whole highway is flowing along smoothly and one car stands out as going much faster than the flow of traffic, it's pretty obvious that car is speeding.

The main difference is that most officers are smart enough not to write down an exact number when they are estimating. They'll just put "in excess of 70 mph" or something to that effect, which isn't all that hard for a casual observer to estimate.

Also, most traffic violations come down to your word vs. the officer's. For instance, running a red light, failure to stay in marked lanes, faulty equipment, etc. They generally don't take a picture or have any other objective evidence, other than their observation.
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:20 PM   #17
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be careful tho. recording (video or audio) a police officer without their written consent is a felony.
it wasn't until recently
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty25RS View Post
be careful tho. recording (video or audio) a police officer without their written consent is a felony.
What states does this apply too?

I was planning on modifying my gauge pod to hold a dash cam mounted behind my gauges, underneath the gauge pod. Then run a small external microphone up the side pillar so that it can capture audio near the drivers side window.
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:34 PM   #19
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wait, why can't we video tape them? They videotape us...This is BS. They are passing laws now to intentionally make it impossible for us to defend ourselves. This has gone too far. Why do cops need protection from OUR in car cams?
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:35 PM   #20
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I don't know. I just remember reading an article recently about someone who tried to use the recording to get out of something and ended up getting in more trouble.
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Old 06-04-2010, 07:02 PM   #21
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So much for proof beyond a reasonable doubt. " Yeah, he looked like he was going fast...." Guilty as charged!
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Old 06-04-2010, 07:14 PM   #22
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So much for proof beyond a reasonable doubt. " Yeah, he looked like he was going fast...." Guilty as charged!
The standard of proof in most traffic cases is much lower. I think it's a preponderance of evidence.

We would never convict anyone if the standard was that high.
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Old 06-04-2010, 07:21 PM   #23
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The standard of proof in most traffic cases is much lower. I think it's a preponderance of evidence.

We would never convict anyone if the standard was that high.
Prepoderance of evidence is the standard for civil trials. It's simple to provide the necessary proof for criminal trials, use your damn radar/lidar gun. But if you drag me into court and say it looked like I was doing 80, I'm gonna laugh you out of court.
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Old 06-04-2010, 07:29 PM   #24
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Prepoderance of evidence is the standard for civil trials. It's simple to provide the necessary proof for criminal trials, use your damn radar/lidar gun. But if you drag me into court and say it looked like I was doing 80, I'm gonna laugh you out of court.
Traffic violations in most sane states are civil infractions.
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:55 PM   #25
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Whoa guys...relax. Visual estimates are just used to help corroborate the speed displayed on the radar/lidar. So, for example, I can see a car that is visibly moving faster than the other traffic, I estimate its speed to be 78-82 or so, then I get it on laser at 80 mph. I can say that the readout was in line with my visual estimate. That is all a visual estimate is for. You get a feel for speeds over time, it is not rocket science.

I do not think anyone got a ticket based on a random guess. Also, if I see a car that is going almost twice the speed of other traffic, I can cite the car for something even though I never got a radar/lidar readout on the screen, just based on what I observed.

Law enforcement is a game, as a friend of mine says, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Between radar detectors and iPhone applications that list speed traps, people have plenty of help in the defense against police. People are not getting screwed over in court generally.
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