In Maryland, laser sensor speed enforcement technology has taken speed monitoring to an advanced level of performance by addressing limitations of traditional radar-based speed cameras currently in use in many municipalities.
A recent study by Lanham-based Optotraffic – - which provides completely automated, high accuracy red light and speed enforcement solutions to Maryland jurisdictions, municipalities and towns – - found that only 57% of the violations of 10 mph or more over the speed limit could be enforced by radar, meaning that 43% would have to be thrown out.
Optotraffic is the only provider that manufactures its own, state-of-the-art speed enforcement systems and the only one that develops its own software, regarded as the most comprehensive and efficient available. Other competitors typically provide equipment purchased by third party vendors, usually based on less current and less efficient technology.
The company’s units are calibrated daily and tested to within one mile per hour – - in annual tests by independent laboratories and periodically by the police departments of local municipalities. This automated speed enforcement system measures the speeds of passing vehicles with an accuracy of +/- 1 mph. Less than 0.2% of all issued citations based on this company’s measurements have been contested in a court hearing.
For each of their laser speed sensor, the company employs two laser sensors, that use light detection and ranging technology in a “laser pointer type” fashion. These two beams, one further “downstream” from the other, are perpendicular to the lanes of traffic. Using laser beams, they precisely measure the presence of an object 10,000 times per second for as long as it takes to travel between the two.
The speed is precisely measured by the laser sensors from the time a vehicle encounters the first beam to the time it encounters the second beam. The units are calibrated daily, and are removed and tested annually in an independent testing lab. The speed of cars is not determined by cameras. It is determined solely by the laser ranging sensors. Still cameras are only used for identification and physical presence purposes, not for speed measurements.
Specifically, still cameras at each unit have only the following uses:
- to demonstrate that the vehicle was at the location where its speed could be measured;
- to identify the vehicle by looking at the license plate; and
- to demonstrate that the vehicle was actually in motion when it moved through the laser sensor system.