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by Jim Shaw

Stalker Radar Is Doing Its Part To Stop
Distracted Driving

April 1, 2018

Distracted Driving Kills!

Stalker Radar, is joining the U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in an effort to stop distracted driving. On April 2, 2018, Stalker Radar will be joining the #justdrive campaign to bring to light the dangers of distracted driving.

Distracted driving is an epidemic on America’s roadways. In 2017, over 3,000 people were killed and an estimated 400,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. Texting and cell phone use behind the wheel takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your focus off driving – putting yourself and others in danger.

“Safety is the number-one priority at Stalker Radar,” said Vice President of Marketing, Michael Kan. “As anyone who has lost a loved one in a crash can tell you, even one traffic fatality is one too many. We are committed to eliminating this unnecessary risk and strongly believe that no phone conversation or text message is worth the potential danger.” Kan added.

Stalker Radar encourages you to discuss the dangers of distracted driving with your family, friends, and neighbors. Please share all #justdrive posts on social media and download images of our “Distracted Driving Kills” campaign available to customers, family, and friends for sharing online or in print. Files can be downloaded from our website www.stalkerradar.com/freePSA. Together we can work to eliminate this senseless epidemic and make our roadways safer for everyone. To learn more about the USDOT NHTSA’s effort to stop distracted driving, please visit distraction.gov.

Jim Shaw is the Director of Marketing Communications at Stalker Radar.  Jim joined Stalker Radar in 2003.


 


by Steve Hocker

Daily Radar Testing

March 12, 2018

Since 1982, NHTSA has recommended that officers test their radar equipment before and after their shift. The thinking is if the equipment passed testing before using it and passed again after its last use, then it was working during the shift.

All equipment in use today has some type of automated, internal testing that is performed at regular intervals. But, the courts have always asked that the officer perform additional testing, thus the tuning fork test was created.

The tuning fork test is a means of taking a known speed and verifying that the displayed speed matches the speed marked on the tuning fork. Accuracy must be ±1 mph of the stamped speed.

More recently, some courts have asked for more details regarding when the officer tested the equipment. Therefore, it is recommended that the officer record the time and date the equipment was tested in a daily log or other report.

As an officer in the traffic unit, I would record when I tested the radar in my daily log book. Telling the court the exact time the unit had been tested on any given day proved valuable evidence in several court cases where the infraction was contested.

As time passes, we get complacent and may forget to perform the suggested testing as outlined by the manufacturer and directed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But more and more defense attorneys are asking for records, and in the coming years, just saying “I tested the radar” may not be acceptable to the courts.

Be Safe out there.

Steve Hocker is the Senior Product Manager at Stalker Radar.  Steve joined Stalker Radar in 2006.



by Steve Hocker

Did I miss something?

January 25, 2018

Same Direction Radar – why does my radar miss targets?

In my years of teaching how to run radar there is one question that I can always count on to come up,” Why did my Same Direction Radar drop a reading?”.

This reality can be frustrating and sound all too familiar to a traffic cop.  Allow me to explain why this happens here. 

The Same Direction radar (sometimes referred to as Same Lane radar) was first developed in 1985.  Since that time, advances have been made, but certain inherent Doppler radar limitations exist for the minimum and maximum speed differences in Same Direction mode. 

Remember that the minimum difference in speed between the target and patrol vehicle must be 3 MPH before any speed will be shown.  The maximum difference in speed between the target and patrol vehicle is 70% of the patrol speed.  Once that maximum difference is exceeded, no speed readings will be shown.

Everything seen by the radar unit is relative to the radar not the roadway.  Same direction radar works on processing the returned signal from the target vehicle traveling in the same direction as the patrol vehicle.  For example, consider a patrol vehicle that is moving at 50 MPH with a target ahead of the patrol vehicle traveling at 90 MPH (relative to the ground) in the same direction.  The radar sees a 50 MPH signal and a 40 MPH signal (relative to the radar).  Due to electronics and physics, the radar unit cannot show any speeds where the difference in speed is greater than 70% of the patrol speed.  70% of patrol speed (50) is 35 MPH.  The maximum speed the radar can display with a 50 MPH patrol speed is 85 MPH (50 + 35).  This is the reality of running any Doppler radar.

As you can see in the graph above, for a patrol car traveling at 50 MPH, the patrol speed cosine reflections are as low as 39-40 MPH.  The maximum speed that a radar can look for same direction targets is 70% of the patrol speed or 70% x 50 MPH = 35 MPH.  So, to prevent patrol speed cosine reflections being picked up as an actual target speed, the radar is not allowed to look above the 70% limit.   The graph shows a true target that is traveling 20 MPH faster than the patrol vehicle.  This 20-MPH signal would be added to the patrol speed (50 MPH) and show a target speed of 70 MPH.  If the vehicle were traveling above 70% of the patrol speed, say 40 MPH (actual speed of 90 MPH), the radar would not be able to display that speed.

Steve Hocker is the Senior Product Manager at Stalker Radar.  Steve joined Stalker Radar in 2006.

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