Speeding ticket fight: Radar vs. GPS

PETALUMA, Calif., Sept. 11 (UPI) -- A battle over a 17-year-old California driver's speeding ticket pits the parents' GPS tracking device against a police department's radar gun.

The Petaluma, Calif., police department says it has spent $15,000 on the legal fight over a $194 traffic ticket, The Christian Science Monitor reports.


"We don't want this technology to be discredited," Sgt. Ken Savano said. "We think it helps save teenagers' lives."

Shaun Malone's parents say the GPS shows the teen was driving at the 45 mph speed limit when he was pulled over in 2007. Their lawyer argues that something may have interfered with the radar gun to give a wrong reading, possibly a passing truck.

Savano said he believes Malone was driving more than 60 mph and slowed when he saw police. The radar clocked him at 62.

While the case will not set any precedents, it could, as Savano fears, hurt the credibility of police radar -- and not just in Petaluma. A decision is expected in a few weeks.

"The speeding ticket -- fear of getting one, how to fight one -- is such a ubiquitous concern in American culture that this case is extremely interesting and could produce a compelling outcome," said Daniel Filler, at senior associate dean at the Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law in Philadelphia.


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