I received a ticket for
going 40 in a 30 mile zone. I asked the
officer to show me the radar readout and he
said that he had already cleared it!
I have the following
- I can go to traffic school and forget about
- I can fight it out and risk getting a point
after all the hassle.
[[Warning - scientific
explanation follows! But it is an
argument that won't work in court, so you
don't need to understand it. I have put
it in italics.]]
I have a degree in EE and
know enough about radars and mechanics to
know that it almost impossible to do what he
claimed I did. I know the PD uses a K band
radar. He was at least 25 or 30 ft on the
other side of my car. Assuming a beam angle
of 15 degrees the officer needs a minimum
gap of 150 ft to keep me in the main lobe.
This means that I had 90 ft to go from 0 to
40 mph which is equivalent to a 0-60 time of
The other alternate is that he used an
angular shot. However, that means that
cosine acceleration becomes important.
Assuming a cycle time of 300ms (between
bursts of microwave), the minimum distance
required with an offset of 30 ft to keep the
error less than 1 mph between two
consecutive readings is about 90 ft. This
gives me about 160 ft to go from 0 to 40.
And would translate to a 0-60 time of 8.5
Go all the way.
You have a 50% chance the officer will not
show up. Automatic dismissal.
[[Those are good odds, but you can
make them even better by moving the case to a
court in the county seat. See Change of
Venue on the Challenges
page at highwayrobbery.net.]]
Here is what I would do. I would get a
copy of Fight
I would get a copy of the city's speed survey
for the street you were cited on. After you scan
Brown's book you will see why you want to get
this document. Examine the survey carefully. See
if they set the posted speed limit too low. If
they did, that equals a speed trap. Automatic
dismissal, even if you were radared doing 90.
I have already talked to
city public works department (PWD). The person
there said that the last survey was done in
2001 and the 30mph was the limit determined by
that. I have not seen whether the survey was
certified by a licensed engineer or whether
the 85% threshold was used or not. But the
person said that the limit was set based on
that survey. Note that this is primarily a
residential street at this point.
As long as I can go to traffic school after
filing a motion for discovery and finding
the answers I do not mind doing the extra
legwork. Perhaps the answers I get, will
convince me that I was indeed speeding.
Perhaps they will strengthen my case. But
not being able to go to school just because
I ask for more information somehow sounds
unfair to me.
Get a copy of the survey,
including the field notes made by the
surveyor. Those field notes will show the
speed of each of the 50 or 100 cars whose
speed was surveyed.
added the image below, to show what the field
notes can look like. Each 'X' represents
the speed of one car, marked down by the field
technician. The field note format will
vary a lot from city to city, but they will
always have some way of indicating the speed of
each individual car. Note also that while
this example includes a line where the 50th
percentile speed is noted, some field note forms
don't show the 50th, and if you want it you will
have to count x's in order to determine the
that if it is not convenient for you to go by
City Hall or the Department of Public Works to
get a copy of the survey, you can send a written
request to the City Clerk, for a copy to be
mailed to you. See highwayrobbery.net's Getting
Records/Discovery page for more info.]]
I talked to the officer on
He said that he caught me doing 41 after I had
passed him! He said that he had a hand-held
radar and he pointed it to my rear. He said he
got the tone and everything. Now all [[radar
beam]] calculations I had earlier are no
Now is it possible for the cop to twist around
and aim the hand held gun through the car at
the back of my vehicle? He also said that he
did a visual estimate of my speed.
What is indeed questionable is whether an
officer can aim a gun at a car going in an
opposite direction and still get an accurate
He can either twist to the right and aim it
down the road through his rear window or twist
to the left and aim it through the driver's
The best part is that there were trees behind
the officer's car so he could not have aimed
it through the rear window. He must have aimed
through the side window. I think he
never got a radar reading
Now all I need is a copy of his report.
Get the survey, and look at
Brown's book. Without both your sole chance of
success will be if the officer does not show
up for the trial.
When I refer to "the survey" I am not
referring to some report written by the citing
officer. I am referring to a speed survey done
by the PWD.
The first thing I did was
to call the PWD to get information about the
traffic survey. They gave me a date of 2001
and said that the speeds were set according to
the survey. I will look it up to confirm.
A lot will depend on the
device used. The handheld my agency uses can
be used versus oncoming or away traffic. Not
knowing the placement of the cars involved, I
really couldn't say whether his reading was
valid or not.
And while I think NotMe's 50% estimate for a
no show is on the high side, it might still be
in your best interest to go to trial and wait
to see if the officer shows. If he shows, and
you don't feel confident enough to win at
trial, you can still likely plead nolo or
guilty and take traffic school.
In my experience, the visual estimation tends
to go a long way. But it depends on the court.
I was never certified in radar, but I made
quite a number of speeding cases on visual
estimation in spite of no formal training in
that area. It really depends on the judge.
To SafeDriver -
Are you a teenager or something?
Repeat this back to me.
"I will go to the PWD and obtain a paper copy of
the complete speed survey. I will then retire to
my abode where I will examine the survey
closely, using Fight Your
Ticket as a guide."
CopBoss talked about visual estimation. I say, visual
estimation, shizzle estimation. If the
officer used radar and the survey does not
justify the speed limit posted on the street,
then it was a speed trap. And the speed trap
law says that if it's a speed trap, ALL of the
officer's evidence, including any visual
estimation, is poisoned and cannot be used.
So get the survey, will ya?
CopBoss, thanks a lot
[[Warning -SafeDriver is
getting all scientific again! Again, I
have put it in italics.]]
I had written, there was a 20 ft lateral
distance between his car and my direction of
motion. The view through the rear view was
obstructed due to hedges. If he took aim
through the side window, he needs to aim at
a very sharp angle to get me within 30
degrees and reduce the cosine error to less
than 12%. Even at 30 degrees his stated
reading of 40 mph will correspond to an
actual velocity of 47 mph, which would lead
to a 7 mph difference between his visual
is not easy to aim a 7-9 inch long device
backwards at such a sharp angle. Try aiming
something of that size (perhaps your
sidearm) through the side window at a sharp
angle to get a perspective.
Of course, CVC 22350 can
still be argued regardless of the posted limit
... one can be unsafe even if BELOW the limit.
While it's not likely the case here, it is
simply not true - in general - that without a
survey that safe speed laws cannot be
CopBoss may have his own agenda, and
SafeDriver isn't listening because he is an
engineer and has become so narrowly focused on
the technicalities of the radar beam that he
will most likely lose his case at law.
But for the rest of you reading here, who are
not cops or radar engineers, I am going to
repeat something that is very important, and is
how you beat radar speed tickets in CA.
In a previous message, CopBoss wrote: "it is
simply not true - in general - that without a
survey that safe speed laws cannot be enforced."
That is a misleading statement. It would be true
if no radar had been used, but this entire
thread has been about a radar ticket. And the
law is very clear for radar tickets. If radar
was used and there is no survey (or the
survey does not properly justify the posted
speed limit), NO speed law can be enforced, no
matter how fast you were going. [[ It's not
quite that simple! Radar can be
used, without any survey, on a "local"
street. See discussion of what "local" means,
It is black letter law. Anyone who doesn't
understand this should read Fight Your
Only partially true.
The device may not be able to be used,
but the issues surrounding a safe speed may
still be applicable as can estimated speed.
The lack of a survey does NOT make zipping along
at 100 MPH suddenly legal ... or driving at 50
MPH in a 35 MPH safe. While radar, laser and
other such devices might not be admissible under
some situations, visual estimation and pacing
can still be used as can "unsafe speed for
conditions" per CVC 22350.
The relevant sections and the various convoluted
legalese can be found in CVC
I have no particular agenda, but it is
disingenuous to state that it is "black letter
law" that the lack of an adequate survey will
toss the speed violation out the window. It
might. But it does not mean that speed cannot be
enforced by other means in said area.
It may be that this thread was largely about a
radar confirmation, but the original post-er
also mentioned some other factors such as a
school crosswalk that might change the dynamic
of the argument from a prima facie speed
argument to unsafe speed.
If radar had never been
used on the defendant, then yes, visual
estimation, pacing or other methods could be
used. But this thread is about a ticket where
radar was used. Once radar is involved in a
ticket, if the street is bigger than a "local"
street a survey is required. And if that
survey is not up to snuff, then the use of
radar on that street is a speed trap. [[
See discussion of what
means, below. ]]
40804. "(a) In any prosecution under this code
upon a charge
involving the speed of a vehicle, any officer
or other person shall
be incompetent as a witness if the testimony
is based upon or
obtained from or by the maintenance or use of
a speed trap."
Per 40804, it is just like the officer didn't
even show up for the trial. Nothing he says
can be used. He has "poisoned" himself by his
illegal use of the radar. Case dismissed.
Others may find CVC
40800 - 40808 "convoluted" but everyone
I know is able to understand it quite easily.
I have used it to beat a number of radar
Get the survey. Get the book FYT. Find the
defects in the survey. Beat the ticket. No JD,
EE or CrimSci degree required.
I went to the city public
works department and obtained a copy of the
traffic survey. I did not take a copy of the
notes though I looked at them.
-Time of Survey: August 2001
-Average Daily Traffic (ADT): 2100
-The 85th percentile speed on Vintner ranges
from "35 mph to 37 mph"
-There were 2 accidents on Vintner in 2000.
-The survey results are signed by a Traffic
Posted speed is 30 mph.
I also asked the public works guy why the
crossing near my home is a School Zone and he
mentioned that it is because there is a after
school day care facility on a parallel street.
That street is at least a 1000 ft away. So
there is no school or day care facility within
The survey speed fudges by saying that the
85%ile speed ranges from 35 and 37. I cannot
understand how a %ile speed can have a range.
It has to be an exact number or if there were
not enough samples, then the number should be
a mean of the two closest numbers.
Is this survey acceptable?
You are on the right track,
The survey sounds fishy. I have never seen
one, before, that gave a range for the 85th.
Go back, get a copy of the field notes. Then
you'll be able to tell how they fudged the
85th. [[The 85th should be a whole
number, no fractions, no decimals.]]
However, you need to understand that there is
a way that they are allowed to reduce the
posted by an additional 5 mph increment. That
way is if the engineer cites, in the survey, a
danger that would not be apparent to a new
driver on the street. That danger could be a
hidden driveway, or simply a higher than
average accident rate. Using your situation as
an example, lets say the 85th turns out to be
36. That rounds to 35 so he could post a
35 without giving any justification for doing
so. But he could only post a 30 if he said
that the 2 accidents equals a higher than
average accident rate, or that there is some
other non-obvious danger. This is per the
statutory law - the law as it was written by
the legislators. [[ Here is an example,
from a survey in another town, of such a
"UNUSUAL CONDITIONS (NOT READILY
APPARENT): Breaks in the sound
wall allow pedestrians access to the
roadway. Some pedestrians cut across
the roadway to avoid the pedestrian
Then there is the case law. Look at the 50th%
speed. Case law says (see Footnote 20
[[below]] from decision in People vs. Goulet)
that they can't use radar enforcement if they
have set a posted speed that turns the
majority of drivers into violators. Thus, if
the posted is 30 and the 50th is 31, the
majority of drivers are exceeding the speed
limit. [[Here, courtesy of
highwayrobbery.net, is that footnote:
"FN 20. Review at trial
or on appeal will tend to fall into patterns.
Many speed limits will apparently be justified
because, in accordance with the general rule,
they are set at the 85th percentile speed or
within 5 mph under that speed. Some speed
limits may be justified because they are set
five mph below the general rule, based on
higher than expected accident rates or listed
hidden hazards. Some speed limits may appear
to be unjustified or questionable because:
1. The speed limit is set
10 or more mph under the 85th percentile
2. The speed limit makes
violators of a large percentage of drivers;
3. "Conditions" listed
are not hidden hazards, that is, they are
readily apparent to a driver;
4. There is no
explanation how the conditions listed require
the speed limit set; or
accident rate is not higher than would be
[[ Also courtesy of
highwayrobbery.net, here is the full text of
By the way, most of this is in Fight
highwayrobbery.net, added 5-19-08, updated
8-21-09 and 9-7-11:
January 2008 the California Traffic Control
Devices Committee ("CTCDC"), which advises
CalTrans, began action to formalize the
relationship between the posted speed and the
50th Percentile. In a memo published at
(additional copy archived
at highwayrobbery.net), the CTCDC asked
CalTrans to modify their Manual (the MUTCD) to
reflect that "...Under no conditions a posted
speed limit anywhere in California shall be
less than the 50th percentile speed as
determined by an Engineering and Traffic
Survey." In most cases, CalTrans adopts
the CTCDC's recommendations, but they did not
adopt this particular one. The CTCDC
held further discussions during three more
meetings, but could not reach consensus about
new language to recommend to CalTrans.
During a March 2009 special meeting attended
by the director of CalTrans, he said he
would make a decision about the language by
April 21. The director's decision was
published in the agenda of the 5-14-09 meeting
of the CTCDC, and it read:
09-10 Section 2B.13
Speed Limit Sign (R2-1) of CA MUTCD
The Department recommends
using the existing regulations in the CA MUTCD
with added emphasis on the required
documentation for applying the additional 5
mph reduction currently allowed.
Additional 5 mph reductions must be justified
by a registered engineer in the Engineering
and Traffic Survey with concurrence from the
law enforcement agency responsible for the
On 6-29-09 CalTrans
Directive 09-04 formalizing the new
2012: Even Newer Rule
Assembly Bill 529 of 2011 (Gatto), effective
Jan. 1, 2012, changed the rules again.
See the discussion
of AB 529, on the Action/Legis page at
I also want to recommend that if you are going
to be fighting tickets (or any other law), that
you get familiar with West's Annotated
California Codes. They allow you to look up any
section of California law, including the vehicle
code section you were cited for, and see what it
really means. For more details about WACC, see
this free website: www.highwayrobbery.net/redlightcamslinksref.htm#Reference
It appears to be in
Naw, it isn't in compliance
unless there are other written notations on
the speed survey to justify a posted speed
limit reduction of more than 5 mph from the
survey's supposedly measured "critical speed"
of 37 mph. Challenge the 35-37 mph vagueness
which is improper.
Moreover, so what if you exceeded the posted
speed limit? 41 is only 4 mph more than the
85th percentile... so that's not much faster
than what other presumed reasonable drivers
travel. Do you know about California's "Basic
Speed Law" that allows a motorist under
certain safe conditions and circumstances to
travel faster than the posted speed?
Check with the court, but I believe
the survey is too old, therefore you could argue
that the 40 mph is likely the 85th percentile,
if it is safe under the basic speed law.
I have requested a copy of
the detailed survey and the notes.
The survey has to be five years old or less.
There is also an automatic clause for
extension for another five years.
I also talked to the court clerk. She said
that the notes which the officer has are the
same as what I have in my citation so filing a
discovery motion will not help much. According
to her, I can not question the officer with a
written request for answers. She also
said the citing officer is pretty senior
officer and is known to the court.
[[Warning! SafeDriver is
getting scientific again. But this will
be the last time. I have put it in italics.]]
also noticed that the speedometer on my
model of car shows a speed 3-5 miles more
than your actual speed. I had read about
this in different forums and personally
verified that by using a GPS device and by
driving at a steady speed in front of a
road-side speed measuring device (which
displays your speed as you pass by). The
officer said that his radar gun got me at
41mph which would translate to a speedometer
speed of 44-45 mph. No way was I going to be
driving that fast with after seeing an
officer and with a stop sign 300 yards down
Unfortunately, Commissioner James Washington,
who has won three Iggy Awards [[ given to bad
judges by helpigotaticket.com]] works in the
court I am supposed to appear at.
Rational thought would suggest traffic school
but this is becoming an emotional issue for
Don't worry about Washington. You have
the right to do a Peremptory Challenge, which
will keep him off your case.
Read about Peremptory Challenge in Fight Your
Ticket, and on the Challenges
page at highwayrobbery.net.
Traffic survey is here but
it is weird.
I finally got a copy of the
"Speed Zone Survey".
The survey is a 3 ft by 1 ft document, with a
satellite picture of the area and other
details. It has a notes section above the
picture and a square graphed area below the
picture. It is dated August 2001. The
alignment is Straight, the gradient is Flat,
the district is residential.
The speed was measured at three different
points. In the first zone the road is 30 feet
wide (first 1000 feet of the 3700 feet) and it
is 40 ft wide for the rest of the 2700 ft. The
officer was standing at the point where the
road widens from 30 to 40 ft (and hence hidden
to traffic coming from his behind). I was
ticketed in the first zone.
1. The record which the city provided me does
not have any details of the actual
distribution of speeds. There is no
distribution graph of individual speeds
measured, actual speed samples, number of
measurements taken etc.
2. The speed was measured at three different
spots of the road I was cited in the zone
covered by the first spot.
3. The Observed Speed: Critical was 37, 35 and
36 mph in the three zones.
4. The Observed Speed: Pace was 26-36 mph in
Zones 1 & 2 AND 27-37 mph in Zone 3.
5. The accident rate is 4.0 accidents/million
vehicle miles which I am told is very high.
6. The existing speed limit was 30 mph when
the survey was taken.
Below the satellite image of the road, there
is a square ruled graph area. This area plots
the following speeds:
- Existing Speed Limit
- Critical Speed Limit
I noticed that the Critical Speed Limit, in
the zone I was ticketed is actually marked at
27 mph in the graph! The notes above say that
the critical speed is 37 mph.
I am not sure whether the traffic survey,
without the detailed notes is sufficient? Was
the law changed between 2001 and now to
require more detailed notes? Is it possible
that the detailed survey notes are buried
somewhere in the city and were not given to
In the absence of the detailed notes, do I
have sufficient evidence (10 mph pace of 26 -
36) to show that at 30 mph most of the people
would be speeding (Goulet?).
You mean if everyone does
75 on a freeway then that makes it legal, 45
in a residential area with kids riding their
If the accident rate is
high and the engineer has written in the
survey "Speed limit should be reduced to the
next lower 5 mph increment (30) because of
higher than average accident rate," then the
30 speed limit can be justified - except where
So you need to get the portion of the survey
where they indicated what the 50th percentile
speed is. Usually it will be listed right next
to the 85th. But if not, you can figure it out
by looking at the raw data of the 100 speeds
measured. The raw data (field notes) is on a
graphing sheet that looks like the examples
given in the CalTrans Manual, or has the same
function. The CalTrans examples are at http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/signtech/mutcdsupp/pdf/CA-Chap2B.pdf
. [[If the survey was conducted May 20,
2004 or after, see the bold-faced Note
below.]] Once you have downloaded that
publication, scroll all the way to the bottom
of Chapter 2B and look at Figures 2B-105 and
2B-106. [[And highwayrobbery.net has added an
example - scroll up to the big image.]]
11-3-07, updated 9-7-11: The rules
changed, and changed again in 2012.
For surveys conducted May 20, 2004 or
after, CalTrans revised California's rules to
meet proposed Federal standards. The
rules applicable to the conduction of those
more-recent surveys are at http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/signtech/mutcdsupp/pdf/camutcd/CAMUTCD-Part2.pdf (large
file - 28 MB). Once you have
downloaded that publication, look at the pages
on speed limit sign type R2-1, which currently
are pages 2B-7 thru 2B-10, 2B-88, and
2B-89. For surveys conducted before May 20,
2004 but not yet expired, the "old" rules
apply, and CalTrans still has them up on their
site at the link given in the paragraph above.
The main difference between the two
rules has to do with rounding.
Basically, the "new" rule is that the 85th is
to be rounded, up or down, to the nearest 5
mph increment, whereas under the old rule there
was no upward rounding of the 85th - if the
85th was not already at a 5 mph increment, it
was to be rounded down to the nearest
one. With both rules, a further 5 mph
reduction can be made, if a high accident rate
or hidden dangers exist, and those dangers
have been documented in the survey. (The hidden
dangers should be things that would not be
apparent to a driver passing through - Vehicle
Code Sec. 627 uses the phrase "conditions not
readily apparent to the driver.") It should
also be noted that the extra 5 mph reduction
has been heavily abused - many surveys cite
dangers which would be apparent to a
motorist, yet still take the 5 mph
reduction. During a hearing before the
legislature, one engineer described that
reduction as being "rubber stamped." (Joint hearing,
Senate and Assembly Transportation Committees,
Oct. 28, 2009, at 1:47:30.)
2012: Even Newer Rule
Assembly Bill 529 of 2011
(Gatto), effective Jan. 1, 2012, changed the
rounding method again. See the discussion
of AB 529, on the Action/Legis page at
There are no field notes or
raw data which the city gave me.
I asked them and they said that this is all
What I have is Fig. 2B-103. I do not have
Figs. 2B-104 to 106. [[If the survey was
conducted May 20, 2004 or after, see the
bold-faced Note above.]]
The field notes and the cover letter do not
explicitly state that the speed limit is being
reduced further because of these reasons. They
just state all the relevant facts.
Here's your defense as I
(CVC 40802) says there has to be a
survey if radar was used (and it is not a
"local" road). [[ See discussion of what
"local" means, below. ]]
VC 627 says the survey has to be conducted per
CalTrans Manual, at Section 2B.116 (in a
subsection of Section 2B.116 titled
"Engineering and Traffic Surveys") says they
have to show the raw data of the individual
speeds of the approx. 100 cars
sampled. It says that Figs.
2B-105, 106, or something having the
equivalent function should be used. [[If
the survey was conducted May 20, 2004 or
after, see the bold-faced Note above.]]
So, go to trial. (If I was the officer
and I had heard via the grapevine that the
defendant was looking at the survey, preparing
a good case, etc., I just wouldn't bother to
show up. I wouldn't want the judge to
find out that all the tickets I'd written in
my Cherry Patch were no good.)
Ask the officer if he has a
survey. He will pull out a notebook with the
survey in it. It may or may not have a Fig.
2B-105, 106 or equivalent. (If public works
couldn't find it for you, maybe they couldn't
find it for him either.) [[If the survey
was conducted May 20, 2004 or after, see the
bold-faced Note above.]]
If the raw data isn't there, move for
dismissal. Tell the judge that CalTrans
requires that it be there. That if it's not
there, it's a speed trap. If necessary,
explain to him that the public is entitled to
see the raw data so that they can determine
the 50th% for a potential Goulet defense.
If the officer miraculously comes up with the
raw data, ask the judge to recess your case
for a few minutes, handle the next case, so
that you can examine the data. Find the 50th%
speed (if it was noted on the data sheet or
elsewhere in the survey), or figure it out.
Also look to see if the engineer wrote down,
anywhere, his rationale for moving the limit
down the extra 5 mph increment. Also check the
date on the documents. If they have been
revised after the date of your ticket, they
are irrelevant, can't be used.
When the case starts again, if the engineer
didn't write down his rationale (the officer
cannot provide it verbally, it has to come
from the engineer), move for dismissal.
[[Check to see if the engineer signed it!]]
If that didn't work, then argue (per People
vs. Goulet) that the 50th% makes violators of
the reasonable majority, or majority,
(whichever is the case) of drivers.
[[Here are some other things to look
1. If the survey specifies that the
surveyor made his observations while standing
between Street X and Street Y, but isn't more
specific than that, you could argue that the
survey needs to be more specific so that a
person reviewing the survey can confirm that
the survey location was not too close to an
intersection, and was on an uninterrupted
section of road of at least whatever the
minimum requirement is, probably 1/2 mile.
2. Look at the time of day that the
survey was made. It should be a time
when traffic would be expected to be flowing
3. Look to see if the survey indicates
what the weather was. It's supposed to
4. Look at how long it took the surveyor
to do the survey. I saw a survey where
it took 90 minutes to sample 102 cars - on a
busy 4-lane street. That's just over one
car a minute, and could indicate an accidental
or purposeful selection of cars that are going
If nothing has worked, throw yourself upon the
mercy of the court and ask for traffic school.
If I was the judge and a defendant had just
done the best defense I had seen all month, I
would definitely give TS to him - if the
defendant had been polite, respectful, dressed
nicely (no torn T shirts please).
STREETS - AN EXCEPTION TO THE SPEED TRAP LAW
[[ The Speed Trap Law does not apply to "local"
streets. The next 12 posts talk about
what is, and isn't, a "local" street. The Speed
Trap Law also does not apply to freeways or other
roads posted at the state maximum of 65 or 70.]]
I have hand delivered a
letter under FOIA act to the city Public Works
Department requesting all information about
the survey. I have included the print outs of
the relevant figures from the MUTCD. Either
they do not have it or they are not giving it
to me. If they not have it then I have a
reasonable chance of getting out.
The street is not a "local" road since it is
3700 ft long and exceeds the half mile limit
specified in CVC 40802 (b)(1)(B). There are no
stop signs or traffic signals on this road
except at the terminal end.
"(B) Not more than one-half of a mile of
uninterrupted length. Interruptions shall
include official traffic control signals as
defined in Section 445."
"445. An "official traffic control signal" is
any device, whether manually, electrically or
mechanically operated, by which traffic is
alternately directed to stop and proceed and
which is erected by authority of a public body
or official having jurisdiction".
Kurt [[who is a police
officer but isn't up front about it]] wrote:
Just out of curiosity, what
do you do for a living?
Your salary works out to how much an hour?
You've spent how many hours pouring over this
(The vast majority of which is of dubious
value in a court trial.) [[Kurt is right
about the scientific stuff about radar beams -
it would be worthless unless SafeDriver
brought in a recognized expert to testify
And you're doing all this... over a speeding
ticket for doing 10 mph over the speed limit?
Okay... knock yourself out. If you can't
battle 'em with logic, bury them in
b*llsh*t. [[This quip is attributed to
Pres. Harry Truman.]]
Kurt: It is a matter
The Business Decision is to take the online
The emotional decision is to prove that I was
not doing 40 mph.
I have learnt a lot about how the system works
during the investigation of this incident. Not
just traffic law, but radar technology, role
of the NHTSA, the civic and legal process
followed. To me, this ticket is a lesson in
the legal system here; something which will be
useful as my roots in the community become
The City Hall is just 1 mile away.
It is true that I have
spent a lot of time on this ticket. But in a
way, that has help me come to terms with the
whole situation (get a closure). Otherwise, I
would have felt upset, every time I took the
turn where I was ticketed.
Most cities have a map as
specified in 40802(b) - so to be sure of what
the category of the street is, you would have
to check the map. The map will have some (big)
streets specified as arterial, and others
(medium) specified as collector. The balance
In most cities, the map is part of the
circulation element of the general plan.
You might wonder why a city would not simply
choose to leave all its streets classified as
"local" - since that would allow it to use
radar without the restrictions of the speed
trap law. But the reason that cities don't do
that is that they get Federal Aid to Urban
Highways money and they cannot use it on
Section 40802 Says:
"(b) (1) For purposes of this section, a local
street or road is defined by the latest
functional usage and federal-aid system maps
submitted to the federal Highway
Administration, except that when these maps
have not been submitted, or when the street or
road is not shown on the maps, a "local street
or road" means a street or road that primarily
provides access to abutting residential
property and meets the following three
(A) Roadway width of
not more than 40 feet.
(B) Not more than
one-half of a mile of uninterrupted length.
Interruptions shall include official traffic
control signals as defined in Section 445.
(C) Not more than one
traffic lane in each direction.
The street can not be classified as local
since it has a continuous stretch of 3700 ft
without any stop sign, which is more than the
requirement of less than half a mile (2700
ft). I think that is the reason they did the
I am suggesting to public works that they
could put a stop sign just before the half
mile marker. Then they can lower the
speed limit to 25 mph and enforce it with
radar without a traffic survey.
The way I have always read
that section is, if there is a map, the
designation given on the map (arterial,
collector, or by default, local) takes
precedence. The only time you would use the
dimensions (width, length, # of lanes) would
be if there was no map ("no map" would include
a situation where there was a map but it had
not been submitted to the state and the feds).
The extract from the Code
"... except that when these maps have not been
submitted, or when the street or road is not
shown on the maps, a 'local street or road'
Even if the map does not show the road, it is
not a local road if it does not meet any of
the three conditions.
So you still need to check
the map. If the street is depicted on the map
and it is not designated arterial or
collector, then it is a local street no matter
what the dimensions.
So get the map. Get it certified, by the way.
Thanks. I will have to
The city says that they actually want to
reduce the speed limit on the street to 25
mph. Since they are doing traffic surveys
there, it is likely that it is not a local
My FOIA letter had the
desired effect. I received certified copies of
the speed survey.
The 30 mph limit corresponds to the following
percentiles at the three points where the
survey was done:
Point A: 38%
Point B: 45%
Point C: 40%.
At all the points the 30 mph speed limit would
mean that at least 50% of the drivers would be
I also talked to the traffic engineer (a
different person). He had a different take on
the local road rule. According to him, once a
traffic survey has been used to set the
speed-limit for a road, it can not be
arbitrarily reduced by classifying it as a
local road. That is why they need a valid
traffic survey to reduce the speed further on
this road (the residents want 25 mph) even if
the road is classified as a local road.
I could not tell from your
last message whether the street showed on the
map, or not. Or even if you saw the map.
Get your own copy of the map. Certified.
Impressive numbers though - roughly 62% of all
drivers are violating the limit. A clear
[[highwayrobbery.net suggest that if you have
assembled rock-solid evidence that your ticket
was no good, you might be able to avoid having
to go to court! Contact the officer who
issued the ticket. Show him your
evidence. Ask him (nicely!) to
dismiss. He just might do it, because
dismissing it now will save him
embarrassment in court.]]