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Laser 101: How Police Laser (LIDAR) Works

k40 police laserIn this installment of the K40 blog, we turn our sights to the incredibly accurate police laser (LIDAR) gun and take a look at how officers are using it on the roadways for traffic enforcement.

Commonly referred to as police laser, LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) is the most precise speed monitoring option available to traffic enforcement officers. Police laser is becoming more widespread and affordable to police departments throughout the country, and K40 is here to make sure that you’re informed and protected.

Police laser guns use light to calculate a vehicle’s speed, and the speed is reported to the officer extremely quickly. Light travels at over 186,000 miles per second, which is much faster than the speed of sound (roughly .21 miles per second). Due to the incredible speed of laser light, there is no way to hit the brakes in time to avoid a laser ticket if you are targeted and without laser jammers. Police laser operates by emitting a short burst of infrared laser light and reflecting the beam off of your vehicle and back to the gun. The gun then analyzes the quick “roundtrip” of the laser beam and reports your speed-reading to the officer. Police officers are trained to target vehicles from a stationary position at a distance of 800 to 1,200 feet.

Police laser technology has seen tremendous innovation over the years. Unlike police radar (which can typically be detected in advance), police laser pinpoints a specific vehicle and provides no advance warning. If you’re in the sights of a police laser gun, then the officer is attempting to receive a speed-reading from your vehicle only. Much like a sniper, an officer chooses a single target. He aims at a reflective spot (such as the license plate or headlights), squeezes the trigger on his laser gun, and receives a speed-reading almost instantaneously (if the vehicle does not have laser jammers installed).

How can police pinpoint one vehicle? Police laser beams are narrow and very accurate, measuring roughly 18 – 36 inches in diameter at a distance of 1,000 feet. Think of a police laser beam as a flashlight beam; if you face a wall with a flashlight from a few inches away, the beam is very small and concentrated. However, as you move away from the wall, the beam grows larger.

How can laser jammers, such as K40’s Laser Defuser g5, defeat police laser? Well, that’s a topic better saved for a future post! In the meantime, give our K40 Consultants a call at 800.323.5608, or interact with us in the comments section below. We invented the laser jamming industry in 1994, and we’re here to defend you from all police radar and laser threats.


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