Hello, Oppo. My name is BicycleBuck and I’m a habitual speeder. The weekly trips between Baton Rouge and Houston have only made it worse. While I’m not as prone to road rage as I used to be, I’m getting tired of the inconsiderate drivers who clog up the left lane. The construction zones only make it worse.

Over the last 10 months, I’ve become pretty familiar with the speed traps and usually slow down before getting caught in one. Last week, I guess I wasn’t paying enough attention.

I normally find a rabbit to lead the way, following about a 1/4 of a mile behind. On this day, it was a lifted F-150 and he was doing an excellent job of clearing a path. I suppose seeing nothing but a bro-bumper in your rear view mirror is an excellent incentive to move over.

The cop was parked on the far side of an overpass, using a laser speed gun. He said he caught me as I came over the overpass. I, of course, debated the point. I was pretty certain he picked up the truck, but decided to pull me over since I had out-of-state plates (the rental has Texas plates). He wouldn’t let me out of a ticket, but he was a lot friendlier once he realized I live in Louisiana. He claimed that I was doing 84 in a 70  mph zone. After a bit of back and forth about it, he let me take a look at the gun he used and try it out for myself. I climbed out of my car and we spent the next 20 minutes firing laser beams at passing cars.

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I’m not sure what model he was using, but it was similar to the Stalker pictured here. It’s operated by viewing the target through the sight and pulling the trigger. As it’s trying to get a reading, it starts beeping. Once successful, it emits a different tone. After he showed me how to use it, I did my best to get speeds for several cars, but I was never successful. He took the gun back and tried several times himself. As he tried, he called out the cars he was sighting. It took him three tries to get a reading.

After that, we talked about how difficult it was to use, overall accuracy, and calibration. He said that the system does have errors, especially if the approaching car is not directly in line with the gun. He also expressed disappointment that these couldn’t be calibrated every day like the older radar systems. When I got home, I did a little digging and came across this:

For those who can’t see the video, tests have shown that user error can contribute to inconsistencies in readings, even on a stationary car. As an expert witness, the fellow in the video has convinced a number of judges to dismiss charges. Hmmm.

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So, what to do? Well, my biggest concern is keeping this off my record. As you may have noticed, they already provided me a way to do that! Just pay the fine, don’t get caught for another three months, and all is good!

While this doesn’t sit well with me, this is what I’ll probably do. The deputy who caught me is from a little town about mid-way between Baton Rouge and Houston. Although the town is a couple of miles off the interstate, they reached across the road to incorporate a truck stop and a retirement home which also gives them the right to patrol a couple of miles of the interstate. Clearly, they aren’t interested in the health and safety of drivers passing through their town, they are interested in generating revenue.

I’ve already looked at the costs of fighting this ticket. We are talking at least a full day off of work, plus a couple of hours driving just to get to the town. They’ve priced the fine low enough to make it not worth the effort.

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So, I guess my wallet is going to be a little lighter and I’ll be watching my speed a little more carefully around that area.