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Police Forum Police Head Mod: Skidmark
Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 07-05-2011, 08:05 PM   #1
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Moving Photo Radar and Reading an Officer's Notes

Hi Skidmark,

Can you please assist me with some questions regarding this incident?

Background Events: I was on the #1 highway towards Calgary. I was allegedely doing 128 km/hr in an 80 km/hr zone (everyone else in the area was going just as fast but I understand that is irrelevant). A police officer drove by me in the opposite lane, put his lights on when he passed me, did a U-turn and I immediately pulled over. He said that since I was doing more than 40km/hr over the speed limit he is required to impound my car and he did so.

Questions:

1. I received his notes from the incident. There is a hand-written part (which I can barely read). Can I get this typed up somehow?
2. On what basis is the officer alleging I was doing 128km/hr since he passed me in the opposite lane? Are there any evidentiary problems associated with this type of speed gauging?
3. Under "Radar Calibration" in his notes, it says "Pre-Test kmph" and he has it checked off. Under "Post-Test kmph" there is nothing written. What does that mean? What is he required to do with this?
4. Under "Checked as a Result of", he has checked "observed offence". Again, is there some issue with this?


Argument:

What I would like to argue is that, while I was speeding, I was not going 128km/hr. I had my cruise control on at the time (around 115) and when he said I was doing 128km, I denied it.

So, do you foresee him having any difficulties proving that I was doing 40km/hr + in contravention of the MVA? Further, do you know if the Crown will be liable for the towing and impound costs if I able to show that I was not doing 40km/hr + and should not have been impounded?


Thank you so much in advance.
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:15 PM   #2
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Can you also please talk about photo radar calibration pre and post? Are there any kinds of tests that he is required to do? Is radar while driving even an accurate guage of speed? Should I request calibration logs for that day?
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:29 PM   #3
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Which variation of a speeding ticket did you get?

Any other violations?
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:30 PM   #4
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Hi, I was charged with section 148 of the MVA (excessive speeding) and received a 7 day impoundment.
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:44 PM   #5
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you were doing 115 on an 80 zone?
sounds like you are over the limit by 35...

not to be a dick -but just saying...
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:06 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by tiger_handheld View Post
you were doing 115 on an 80 zone?
sounds like you are over the limit by 35...

not to be a dick -but just saying...

I'm not sure if you understand the distinction that I will be making in court. I accept and concede that I was speeding but I do not believe I was speeding enough to justify an excessive speeding ticket or the unlawful impoundment of my vehicle.
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:38 PM   #7
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The way i understood it was, the officer claimed you were 40kmph over the limit, and you admitted to being over 35. the 5 kmph difference is negligible in my view. correct me if my understanding is wrong. Many people on RS will think as such.
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:19 PM   #8
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What does any of this have to do with photo radar?
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:51 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by tiger_handheld View Post
The way i understood it was, the officer claimed you were 40kmph over the limit, and you admitted to being over 35. the 5 kmph difference is negligible in my view. correct me if my understanding is wrong. Many people on RS will think as such.
Traveling at 40km/h over the limit or higher holds significantly stiffer penalties, which are not negligable.
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superstylo View Post
Questions:

1. I received his notes from the incident. There is a hand-written part (which I can barely read). Can I get this typed up somehow?
By "can barely read", do you mean you can read it, but its difficult, or that you can't read it? Send a second request for a typed version and a "translation" for any acronyms that may have been sued (for example, I use "NB" for northbound, "R" for right, etc etc etc)

Quote:
2. On what basis is the officer alleging I was doing 128km/hr since he passed me in the opposite lane? Are there any evidentiary problems associated with this type of speed gauging?
The second part can only be answered knowing the answer to the first part of this question. Did you ask what the speed was based on? Police can use many methods to determine speed, whether for incoming or outgoing traffic, crossing, stationary or mobile.

Quote:
3. Under "Radar Calibration" in his notes, it says "Pre-Test kmph" and he has it checked off. Under "Post-Test kmph" there is nothing written. What does that mean? What is he required to do with this?
I would guess (not knowing this officer's note-taking style), that he tested his radar equipment before he used it to make sure that it was in proper working order. By checking the Pre-Test box, he has confirmed that the radar was in working order.

Quote:
4. Under "Checked as a Result of", he has checked "observed offence". Again, is there some issue with this?
what "issue" are you looking for? He observed you speeding. That was the reason for the traffic stop.


Quote:
Argument:

What I would like to argue is that, while I was speeding, I was not going 128km/hr. I had my cruise control on at the time (around 115) and when he said I was doing 128km, I denied it.
"around 115", which could mean that it was higher, or lower. Which could also mean that you weren't paying attention to how fast you were actually going, relying on the cruise control to maintain your speed. Everyone knows that cruise control does not maintain a perfect, consistent speed. It allows the vehicle to speed up or slow down depending on the road surface, incline/decline, etc

Quote:
So, do you foresee him having any difficulties proving that I was doing 40km/hr + in contravention of the MVA? Further, do you know if the Crown will be liable for the towing and impound costs if I able to show that I was not doing 40km/hr + and should not have been impounded?
Seeing as how you haven't really posted anything in the way of what the officer wrote as evidence, its entirely possible that he will be able to convict you. You've already admitted to driving "around" 35km/hr over the speed limit. It doesn't take much variation of accelerator pedal to go from 115km/hr to 121km/hr. And with cruise control on, it could only take a slight decline in the level of the road.

If you are found not guilty, I would recommend contacting the detachment that the officer worked out of and requesting the cost of towing/storage be returned to you. I don't know what they'll see, but I would still recommend it.
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Old 07-06-2011, 06:45 AM   #11
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Like Sho said...plus, most speedos are out by a few kms as well....plus you don't know where he got your speed. The reaction people have when they see the PC lights come on is to hit the brakes then look at their speedo. You may have been going faster before you saw the readings. I also find it hard to believe that he would impound for just 41 kms over...you need to allow a bit for the fact that the charge would not fly for the court if he was 1kmh out on your speed. Most guys I know allow at least 5 kms over and many let more than that show before impounding as it is a serious charge. 48 kmh over seems like a reasonable speed to stop someone for excessive speed'

As a matter of note, "opposed mode" ( the way he met you) is the most common way Police use moving mode Radar to get target speeds...as vehicles drive towards them. There are no "daily calibration logs" as the units are only "calibrated" if they stop working and are sent back to the manufacturer to be repaired and re-calibrated if needed. (You are wasting your time asking for stuff that Radar Detector manufacturers/sellers/get out of jail free...websites give you. The info is often incorrect and often does not apply to BC court proceedings.) They are "tested" pre and post contact and that is what he has indicated. This is in addition to his visual estimation, doppler audio shift from your vehicle and use of his calibrated speedo to verify his "patrol speed" and your "Target speed" is correct. It's called a "tracking history".
As far as his notes go....you obviously requested disclosure and you requested a copy of his notes, which he gave you. When you get into the legal stuff you only get specific answers to specific questions you ask. If you don't know what you are doing (based on what I have seen so far) then you will only get what you demand, and there are some things that you demand that you will not get. I suggest that you talk to a lawyer if you want to start making legal requests. As someone said..." He who represents himself in court has an idiot for a lawyer and a fool for a client". You are in over your head already and you need skilled help if you wish to be effective in your defence.

Last edited by zulutango; 07-06-2011 at 06:57 AM.
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:17 PM   #12
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He did say that his cruise control set, so I'm guessing that he was doing his claimed speed when the cruiser approached from the opposite direction.


As for calibration, does he not have the right to ensure that the equipment that convicted him (sorry, accused him, I keep getting those mixed up when the penalty is administered on the spot) was properly functional?

I'm also a bit concerned about the claim that 48km/hr would be a more reasonable speed to stop someone for excessive speed. It casts a bit of doubt over how seriously the officer considers accuracy in his measurements and accusations. It really does suggest that the officer who stopped the OP may simply say "35km/hr over? meh, good enough, time for an impound".

Even more concerning if the reading was taken using moving radar - I know if picks up on the fastest car, but how can you be sure which one it is?
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:43 PM   #13
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Okay thanks for your comments. There is a lot of irony in this thread for reasons unknown to you all. (Zulutango: Contrary to your belief, I may just know what I am doing. It is just specifics that I am trying to gather. Leave the legal argument to me


Can you please comment directly on the following questions:

1. What does the post-check box mean under "radar"? The officer did not check or write anything in this box. It was left blank.

2. I believe that I am entitled to costs if the vehicle was improperly impounded. The Offence Act provides for this.

3. I am not required to prove the elements of the offence. The officer is required to prove, at the very least, the actus reus. Thus, he has to prove that I was going at least 121 km/hr or more. I am not required to prove that I was going 115km/hr. I will win if I can cast doubt on the speed that he claims I was going.

4. His notes are hard to read. (I will ask for clarification). In any event, I believe the notes say I was going 128km/hr.

I am just trying to understand whether there are areas for me to be able to disprove the actus reus. It is a beyond a reasonable doubt burden of proof.
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superstylo View Post
Hi Skidmark,

Can you please assist me with some questions regarding this incident?

Background Events: I was on the #1 highway towards Calgary. I was allegedely doing 128 km/hr in an 80 km/hr zone (everyone else in the area was going just as fast but I understand that is irrelevant). A police officer drove by me in the opposite lane, put his lights on when he passed me, did a U-turn and I immediately pulled over. He said that since I was doing more than 40km/hr over the speed limit he is required to impound my car and he did so.

.
my question to you is, why were YOU the CHOSEN one, when you said everyone around you were going "just as fast" ?
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Old 07-07-2011, 06:29 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by sebberry View Post
He did say that his cruise control set, so I'm guessing that he was doing his claimed speed when the cruiser approached from the opposite direction.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sebberry View Post

Just because someone uses cruise control does not mean that they were actually doing the speed they say they were doing, that the vehicle speedo was accurate or that they actually set it for the speed they are saying they set it. Someone who deliberately sets their speed at 115 in an 80 might also make other "mistakes"

As for calibration, does he not have the right to ensure that the equipment that convicted him (sorry, accused him, I keep getting those mixed up when the penalty is administered on the spot) was properly functional?

Read what I said about calibration, tracking history, visual estimation, doppler audio shift, patrol speed and the fact that the accuracy of the Radar uinit is checked every single time it is taken off hold to display speeds of vehicles before and after this particular encounter...and the tuning forks that are used at the beginning end end of shift...or sometimes after each individual traffic stop that used the Radar.

I'm also a bit concerned about the claim that 48km/hr would be a more reasonable speed to stop someone for excessive speed. It casts a bit of doubt over how seriously the officer considers accuracy in his measurements and accusations. It really does suggest that the officer who stopped the OP may simply say "35km/hr over? meh, good enough, time for an impound".


I have no idea how you came to those conclusions. If the driver was stopped for exactly 41 kms over the limit then you would be the first to howl that it was unfair. If you got a ticket for doing 81 in an 80 you would be squealing the same thing. What if your speedo was out by a couple of KMH and many are, and you were driving an indicated 80 in an 80 but you were actually going 81 k and you got ticketed? I take it you would support that because no margin for unintended error should be permitted? I never wrote a VT unless the speeder was considerably over the limit and never had any problem finding speeders doing more than 20 over to write a basic speed ticket. Even the NDP's photo radar told people it was OK to speed up to 11k over the limit before they got a VT. Because the Radar units only display speeds in whole numbers the Radar unit would need to be accurate to within plus or minus 1 KMH and they were when they were checked in all the ways I listed. If they were not, they got immediately yanked from service and sent for "calibration".
It does not cast doubt over the seriousness of his concern for accuracy and that he just made up a speed...it says the exact opposite...it says that he knew it was accurate and that he was doing the impound because the car was going 48k over the limit...not 41k. The first thing to be questioned by the disputant was...could the Radar have been out by 1KMH and therefore you penalized me for no reason?


Even more concerning if the reading was taken using moving radar - I know if picks up on the fastest car, but how can you be sure which one it is?

It's does not automatically pick up the fastest car..it picks up the strongest signal and the accuracy of the distinction is based on the tracking history, which among other things, includes the doppler audio shift which allows you to hear the beam as it targets a particular vehicle.

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Old 07-07-2011, 06:45 AM   #16
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[QUOTE=Superstylo;7503013]Okay thanks for your comments. There is a lot of irony in this thread for reasons unknown to you all. (Zulutango: Contrary to your belief, I may just know what I am doing. It is just specifics that I am trying to gather. Leave the legal argument to me

[B]That was not the conclusion I reached, based on your original post. The fact that you are coming to a public forum like this and asking the questions you are does not indicate to me that you "might just know what you are doing" , but then I could also be wrong.[/B]

Can you please comment directly on the following questions:

1. What does the post-check box mean under "radar"? The officer did not check or write anything in this box. It was left blank.

Without knowing what he was thinking when he wrote the VT I'm going to have to speculate that he did "check" the Radar unit before and after he issued the VT to you. It is not required to check this area as they are his notes. He may have another way to indicate to himself that he checked it.

2. I believe that I am entitled to costs if the vehicle was improperly impounded. The Offence Act provides for this.

You may be correct but that decision is up to the courts and MVB

3. I am not required to prove the elements of the offence. The officer is required to prove, at the very least, the actus reus. Thus, he has to prove that I was going at least 121 km/hr or more. I am not required to prove that I was going 115km/hr. I will win if I can cast doubt on the speed that he claims I was going.

Correct and that is the purpose of a trial.


4. His notes are hard to read. (I will ask for clarification). In any event, I believe the notes say I was going 128km/hr.

You certainly may request clarification and the notes may well say you were going that speed.



I am just trying to understand whether there are areas for me to be able to disprove the actus reus. It is a beyond a reasonable doubt burden of proof.[/QUOTE]


The Crown must prove the elements of the offence they charge and that is the basis of every trial in Canadian courts. If they don't, a conviction is not obtained. If they do, one is obtained.

Last edited by zulutango; 07-07-2011 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 07-07-2011, 04:52 PM   #17
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Okay, let me focus and narrow the issue here since I think we are getting off track:

1. Is the officer required to do a pre-check of the radar?
2. Is the officer required to do a post-check of the radar?
3. What does such a "check" entail?
4. The radar check sections contain a blank line and then "kmph". Is the officer required to do more than just check off the blank given that there is a "kmph" there? Is he required to fill in some sort of speed?
5. Is it possible that a radar reading is wrong or inaccurate if an officer does a pre-check radar test but does not conduct a post-check radar test? What does the post-check test do?


(I understand your point on doppler results, visual estimates and perhaps the officer complied with the checks in other ways, however, you must remember that this trial is likely to take place in a year or so. So, how will the officer remember what he heard or saw, unless it is contemporaneously recorded in his notes (to which I should have full access to pursuant to Stinchcombe)? The answer is that he won't, especially under cross-examination, unless he records it in his notes properly. Other than the radar reading, his notes do not contain much more else as far as I can read. This is why the pre-check and post-check boxes are critical.)
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Old 07-07-2011, 08:22 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Superstylo View Post
Okay, let me focus and narrow the issue here since I think we are getting off track:

1. Is the officer required to do a pre-check of the radar?
2. Is the officer required to do a post-check of the radar?
3. What does such a "check" entail?
4. The radar check sections contain a blank line and then "kmph". Is the officer required to do more than just check off the blank given that there is a "kmph" there? Is he required to fill in some sort of speed?
5. Is it possible that a radar reading is wrong or inaccurate if an officer does a pre-check radar test but does not conduct a post-check radar test? What does the post-check test do?


(I understand your point on doppler results, visual estimates and perhaps the officer complied with the checks in other ways, however, you must remember that this trial is likely to take place in a year or so. So, how will the officer remember what he heard or saw, unless it is contemporaneously recorded in his notes (to which I should have full access to pursuant to Stinchcombe)? The answer is that he won't, especially under cross-examination, unless he records it in his notes properly. Other than the radar reading, his notes do not contain much more else as far as I can read. This is why the pre-check and post-check boxes are critical.)
1 - Yes.
2 - Yes.
3 - The check consists of pressing a button on the radar unit that runs through a self-test and then using tuning forks that are set to a specific speed to ensure the radar is functioning accurately.
4 - He can write whatever he would like in these boxes as it is his notes. I always wrote a check mark, never a speed.
5 - The post check test doesn't do anything other than being able to say both before and after the offence that the radar unit was functioning correctly. The check has no effect on the accuracy of the radar unit.
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:10 PM   #19
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1 - Yes.
2 - Yes.
3 - The check consists of pressing a button on the radar unit that runs through a self-test and then using tuning forks that are set to a specific speed to ensure the radar is functioning accurately.
4 - He can write whatever he would like in these boxes as it is his notes. I always wrote a check mark, never a speed.
5 - The post check test doesn't do anything other than being able to say both before and after the offence that the radar unit was functioning correctly. The check has no effect on the accuracy of the radar unit.


Okay, so the pre-check test ensures that the radar is operating correctly and then a post-check test is conducted to ensure that after the offence the radar is still working corrrectly.

But, based on that logic, would you agree that if an officer did not do the post-check test, then he would not be able to fully confirm that the radar was working correctly after the offence...And, based on that logic, it is possible that the radar was also not working correctly at the time the offence was recorded. Do you all agree?
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:21 PM   #20
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You said that you were travelling with other cars going around the same speed. I'd be wanting to know exactly how the officer knew for sure it picked up your car and not another
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:30 PM   #21
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Tracking history, training and proper operation of the Radar unit.

(Sorry sebbery, I edited your post by mistake. My bad ) Just intended to quote what you said.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:35 PM   #22
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Okay, so the pre-check test ensures that the radar is operating correctly and then a post-check test is conducted to ensure that after the offence the radar is still working corrrectly.

But, based on that logic, would you agree that if an officer did not do the post-check test, then he would not be able to fully confirm that the radar was working correctly after the offence...And, based on that logic, it is possible that the radar was also not working correctly at the time the offence was recorded. Do you all agree?

No, he has to prove that it was working correctly at the time he got the readings he used to charge you. You need more than just the readings displayed on the Radar target speed display to know if they represent the true speed of the targeted vehicle. See above for my previous posts.

In the hypothectical world of RS it is possible that the Radar was functioning properly when the readings were obtained and this is supported by what I said above. It is then possible in the hypothetical RS world that the unit began to malfunction after use but before the final post-use tests are done. Sometimes the final tests are done after the vehicle leaves and the officer is completing his notes at roadside.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:01 PM   #23
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Tracking history, training and proper operation of the Radar unit.

(Sorry sebbery, I edited your post by mistake. My bad ) Just intended to quote what you said.
No worries


So what's the process? Moving radar - officer alterted to the excessive speed, looks over to visually estimate which is the offending vehicle causing the reading then speeds/u-turns in the middle of the freeway to catch the perp?

Does the possibility not exist for the car behind, in front or next to the OP's car to have been the faster car, but slowed down before the officer made the visual estimation?
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:59 AM   #24
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The process...Tracking history. Officer is observing traffic, sees a vehicle they believe is exceeding the limit and visually estimates the speed, takes Radar off standby, observes the target speed and sees if it is similar to the estimated speed, hears the Doppler shift to re-confirm the reading came from this targeted vehicle and not one beside, behind, in front of etc. Listens and watches as the targeted vehicle reacts to the realization that they got zapped when the emergency equipment is activated. Keeps targeted vehicle in sight as it is stopped.

The possibility?..A visual estimation does not use a Radar signal that may show a speed of another vehicle. It is what you can see with your eyes. This estimation is not affected by what other vehicles near it do. If some other car slows down...you can see that happen. Anyone can look at a bunch of appproaching vehicles and see what is happening to them. Your eyes are not going to be "tricked" into thinking that the red Toyota is really a blue Jag just because they are near each other. So what if another car slows down? You are dealing with a visual estimation, then you turn the Radar on to get further confirmation of your estimation.
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