Is Police Speed Radar Ever Wrong?


Is Police Speed Radar Ever Wrong?

Speeding is amongst the most common causes of vehicular accidents. When a car is going at a fast pace, the machine is harder to control, and the driver has less time to react to any danger that might appear. The worst cases of injuries and fatalities involving car accidents can happen when speeding. Due to the danger it poses, laws impose strict penalties for this offense. The police are given a wide range of tools to help them enforce the laws and keep the public safe. However, these tools have their share of critics who say that they are not always reliable. Is police speed radar ever wrong?


The short answer is yes. These devices are not immune from inaccuracies. They have their own limitations because of their design. Although reliability has gotten better over the years, they are still far from perfect. They will produce accurate results if they are given close to ideal conditions, but this is not always the case in the field. These are also complex items that rely heavily on their operator for success. If the user is not well-trained, then the tool may be utilized incorrectly, leading to questionable results. Indeed, a lot of drivers who get a speeding ticket fight the charge in traffic court with a New York City speeding ticket attorney.

Multiple Targets

Radars may not always be able to differentiate between multiple targets. Let us say that there are several vehicles within the field of view. One of them is going faster than the others. The reading might reflect the speed of the law-abiding vehicles instead of the speeding car. It is important for the operator to have a feel for pace with just plain sight so obvious errors can be detected and new readings can be made with better positioning for improved accuracy. Other objects close to the road like signs, buildings, and machines, can also cause interference errors.


The size of the radar will also affect the reliability of the device. This is a common issue with handheld and mobile units. Smaller devices have limited directionality due to the less than ideal antenna diameter. They may measure speed based on several objects instead of the actual target alone. This can drastically affect the accuracy of the reading. It is possible to compensate for this by increasing the frequency of the waves thrown in the direction of the target. However, this will not totally make up for the design limitation. Additional antennas and circuitry can also help, but these will increase the cost of the device.


Radar produces reliable speed measurements when the distance to the target is established. This is true when it comes to static devices that are pointed at a fixed direction. On the other hand, mobile devices cannot claim to be as accurate because of the different way in which they try to take measurements. Distance changes constantly between the moving police car and the target vehicle. Even if the device was aimed directly at the target, the readings might actually be for another vehicle straight ahead. Any speed discrepancy should be obvious to the operator if he knows the approximate speed by sight. A new reading can be taken right away.


Speed radar is made to react to objects that are moving at a fast pace. However, they are not able to differentiate between cars and other things that might be nearby. They have not yet reached this level of sophistication. If a person uses this near a tree on a windy day, then the device might produce a reading despite the absence of vehicles. It is the movement of the leaves and branches that were measured. Given all these issues, drivers who feel that they were wrongly accused of speeding should definitely fight their ticket. Ask a lawyer to help prove the inaccuracies in court.