Tonasket Cops’ Corner

RADAR Myths and Information for drivers

Many individuals have misunderstandings about how Radar units work, how the officers use them and under what circumstances they are and can be used. Here are some common

misunderstandings and myths about Radar for traffic/speed control.

MYTH: “The Radar must have my speed locked in to make it a legal stop.”

Normally we try to lock the speed in yet it’s not always possible to get it at that exact moment. We certify and declare the speed we saw your vehicle driving was true and accurate. We sign to this effect and put our training and experience on the line for it.

MYTH: “Certain colors of vehicles get more tickets, or are stopped more.”

Well I can’t speak for other towns, cities or highways, yet this is not a fact in Tonasket! The Radar tracks by speed, regardless of color, year, make, size, etc.

MISUNDERSTANDING: “Why did the Officer stop me out of a group of other cars?”

There are certain criteria that an officer uses when determining which vehicle is actually giving the speed shown on the Radar. It’s too involved to go into here but suffice it to say it’s possible to pick a car out of a group, it’s just difficult. The more experienced and better trained the officer is, the easier it becomes.

All the officers in Tonasket, and Okanogan County are highly trained, have on-going training and have their Radar units checked at consistent intervals. All the units are calibrated at least twice per day, everyday an officer is on duty.

MISUNDERSTANDING: “How far over the speed limit can I go before being stopped?”

This depends on a multitude of factors. Typically it’s anything 6 miles per hour (MPH) and over the speed limit is going to get you stopped. On the side streets of Tonasket there are so many people, kids and animals that going anything over the limit of 25 MPH is unreasonable and unsafe.

There are also streets in Tonasket that are only 15 MPH and one (7th St.) that is 20 MPH. The school zones are a hot spot as there is no way a person can stop a vehicle going over the limit of 20 MPH if a child runs out in front of it. Through town the limit is 25 MPH and especially with semi trucks, or trucks pulling trailers (horse or boat) it’s very difficult if even possible to stop at the crosswalks going anywhere over the limit of 25 MPH. Another factor is the weather and whether there are any events going on in and around town.

If you are stopped and are unsure why, please feel free to ask the Officer, politely, what the circumstances were surrounding that decision. If you were going 35 MPH in a 25 MPH speed zone you may not have to ask why.

MYTH: “Radar detectors prevent tickets.”

Definitely untrue. Driving the speed limit will prevent you from getting a ticket. Radar units in police cars have defeated every brand and sort of Radar detector out there on the market. The Radar units in the police cars have a hold, or “instant” feature which allows the officer to determine when to release the beam. This keeps a radar detector from picking up the police Radar until it’s too late, as when the beam is released the speed is instantly clocked even as your radar detector tracks it.

About Audra Fuller

Officer, Tonasket Police Department

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