New Jersey targets speeders

| 6/19/2002

State police in New Jersey have a new tool to clock drivers. Twenty-six state-of-the-art laser guns capable of precision clocking are in the hands of troopers on the 173 miles of Garden State Parkway.

The lasers' pulses measure distance to the target, calculate the target's speed and send a reading back. According to a release, the units, which cost $3,995 each, take a reading in one-third of a second, compared to three to five seconds for a radar device.

The guns have a narrow light beam, making it easier to focus on a certain vehicle in a group. The lasers also are nearly undetectable to radar detectors. According to the New Jersey Highway Authority, use began when a New Jersey appellate court upheld use of the technology last year.

From Jan. 1 to May 31, troopers on the parkway issued about 1,000 citations with the lasers use. Authorities say training for all troopers who patrol the parkway is underway and will be completed within a few months. The parkway is the first toll road where the lasers are being used, but troopers on the New Jersey Turnpike are scheduled to get 20 laser guns by July.

"Law enforcement continues to look at new technologies to help us keep roadway environments safe for everyone who uses them," said Lieutenant Colonel Lee Cartwright, deputy superintendent of operations, New Jersey State Police. "With laser detectors, we will begin to write the next chapter in speed enforcement on the Garden State Parkway."