New laser fights tailgating in AZ

New laser, used extensively in Australia and Hong Kong measures car distances with great accuracy - a boon to safety, say police.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor on

Arizona has launched a new technological weapon in the battle against bad driving with a laser device that measures the distance between cars. The device makes tailgating tickets virtually argument-proof, The Arizona Republic reports.

"Tailgating accounts for most of the collisions in the Valley," said DPS Officer Michael Beaudoin, who has written about 100 tickets using the laser in the past year. "The majority of the reactions I get from drivers are that they don't realize they are tailgating."

Beaudoin said the new device is virtually argument-proof. With it he can show drivers exactly how close they were following another vehicle. "I love it. It seems to be a great tool," he said. "It seems to be educating the people I do stop."

The laser device, called a Lidar, is manufactured by Laser Technology Inc. of Colorado, which invented the radar speed gun. The Lidar is being used extensively in Australia, Canada and Hong Kong. The device also has proved popular among several police departments in Oregon. Unlike radar units for tracking speeders, the Lidar laser is much more accurate. For instance, a radar typically shoots a beam that is 12 feet wide at 100 feet. By comparison, the laser beam is only 3 feet wide at 1,000 feet.

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