Using a new laser device that measures the distance between two moving vehicles, officers are citing hundreds of motorists with tailgating tickets that can run more than $100. And they are promising more to come.
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.”
I hate tailgaters as much or more than anyone else, but this is a very, very bad idea for so many reasons… Rather than going on about it, I’ll just stick to two reasons.
- Selective enforcement of laws is the main problem, and this tool will not solve it. For example, if I’m driving my NSX (top speed 170 MPH) 75 mph in a 70 mph zone on a long straight deserted highway in Texas I might get ticketed for speeding – even though I pose no danger to anyone. However I’ve never, ever, heard of a police officer handing out a ticket to a driver in a minivan going 55mph in a 70 zone. Why would they? Well, impeding the flow of traffic is against the law as well. And believe me, those drivers are the ones causing all the road rage and stacking up traffic.
- Lets say that you’re driving along in fairly heavy traffic in the right lane. You come upon someone driving 10 mph below the speed limit and you are trying to get around them, but the traffic is heavy in the left lane. Eventually you make your way over between two cars, but it’s a little tighter than you’d like. Say… only about a 1.5 second gap between you and the car in front of you. As soon as you get past the slow moving car you pull back into the right lane only to discover you’re being pulled over by a cop with a new toy who tells you that you violated the 2 second rule.
The bottom line is that this tool is going to be used to enforce a very subjective law. Whenever you give an officer of the state free license to interpret their own constraints you have a very big problem on your hands.
Read the full article here.