Troopers will try to tackle tailgating
GREELEY – There you are, driving along, minding your own business, when this driver pulls up behind you so close you can’t see his headlights in your mirror, and he keeps riding your bumper, acting like an idiot, and you can’t think of anything to do about him.Well, maybe now there is hope.The Colorado State Patrol is testing a new radar gun that can measure the distance between cars, and help troopers to find – and fine – people who are hanging too close.In Colorado, the general rule of separation between cars is one car length for every 10 miles per hour. While that is sometimes impossible to maintain, there are places where there is enough room and law enforcement can issue tickets.”This type of system would be very good for finding the road-rage people who ride the bumper of cars in front of them,” said Trooper Steve Schell, who demonstrated the new gun Tuesday for 13 troopers on an overpass west of Greeley.Troopers aim the gun with a red dot and pull the trigger, which will give the location of the first car. Then troopers point it at the second car, and the gun instantly tabulates the distance, Schell said.While the one-car-length for every 10 mph is standard, even that won’t give the second driver the chance to stop in time in an emergency. “At 60 mph, the car travels 90 feet per second,” Schell said. “It takes an average of about a second for the driver to see the emergency and another second to hit the brakes. That means the car has traveled 180 feet before the brakes are even applied. That’s why we have so many rear-end collisions.”Colorado law says a car must maintain a “reasonable and prudent distance” from the car in front.The new laser gun will also record the speed of a car, so it will also be used as a speed gun. To be certified on the new speed gun, each trooper must attend a laser class, then record 100 car “shoots” – testing the gun on actual cars on streets and highways. That’s what 13 troopers were doing on the overpass west of Greeley.Trooper Troy Nuss said the rear-end collisions are one of the most common type of crashes state patrol covers, especially secondary accidents – the kind when there’s already a wreck, and drivers stop or slow down to look, and someone hits them from behind.The fine in Colorado for following too closely is $41.20 and four points off the driver’s license, Schell said. Troopers hope the new radar gun will help them change driver’s habits of following too closely.Vail, Colorado
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