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Traffic Radar for Motorists

Answers to common questions along with some tips we have found useful for both drivers and officers.

  1. How do I know it's an inflated ticket?
  2. Where can I find help and information about radar?
  3. Why doesn't an officer believe me?
  4. Who is responsible for calibrating a radar unit?
  5. What is the proper procedure to calibrate a radar unit?
  6. When is it time to fight an erroneous ticket?

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How do I know it's an inflated ticket?

Be sure your vehicle's speedometer is calibrated and accurate.  You can verify your speed by using a watch and mile markers alongside the road.  If permissible, driving 60 MPH should take exactly one minute.  If it takes less than one minute, you're doing greater than 60 MPH. If it's greater than a minute you're doing less than 60 MPH.  Most officers have a chart available for various speeds and times. The North Dakota Highway Patrol has a chart they will give you, if you ask.
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Where can I find help and information about radar?

Our book "Traffic Radar for Motorists" provides an easy way to understand how radar works without "technical" knowledge. If the book does not answer your questions, e-Mail us.

Below is our Heads Up Display (HUD) which shows Radar Beam-Width at 1000 Ft.  K-Band spreads out over 200 feet wide, X-Band spreads out over 300 feet, and at 1000 feet, Laser is still 3-4 feet wide, which can walk up your hood, causing false readings.  Place the HUD on the dash in front of you and you can see what radar is really looking at, right thru your windshield!  It's scaled for 1000 feet. Look at all the vehicles that can be in the radar beam at this distance. There is a microwave tower on the horizon looking right at us.  What if you're the driver of the car to the left coming up the hill?

FALSE TARGET!   True Case!  39/25 zone.
  hud2 alt text
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Why doesn't an officer believe me?

He may have heard the same story before.  But if you know you're not going that fast, just go to court and plead "Not Guilty" and set a trial date.  There are a number of things you can do to prove your innocence by introducing the proper evidence. The radar only receives a return signal (which can be false). It's only a tool and needs proper maintenance, certification, and environment to be operated in.  Moving Radar, especially at night, presents additional problems. Radar is only secondary evidence.
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Who is responsible for calibrating a radar unit? 

Both the officer and the department.  The radar unit must meet calibration requirements from the factory and must maintain maintenance records and take a unit out of service when erroneous readings are starting to occur.
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What is the proper procedure for calibrating a radar unit?

Officers must record calibration with tuning forks at the beginning and end of each shift, and also do an internal validation after each ticket.  (evidentiary requirements)
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When is it time to fight an erroneous ticket?

Start gathering evidence to prove your innocence as soon as possible. We have a check list in our book. You can also visit the National Motorists Association at www.motorists.org
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What are some common Radar problems?

The following is a list of a few of many known radar problems:

bulletPoorly trained Officer.
bullet"The Radar Said" you were Speeding!
bulletCracked crystal.
bulletOfficer not certified for radar operation.
bulletUsing non-sanctioned radar!
bulletWrong target identification.
bulletHigh Power Transmitters causing false harmonic readings.

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Other Valuable Information:
Know the differences between Stationary Radar and Moving Radar.
Know the range and beam-width and type of Radar or Laser used.
Keep Current with Radar/Laser Information.
Erroneous tickets occur each and every day.
Look for key items when you're stopped.
Prepare yourself for Court.

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