Officer establishing traffic history re: Speeding

Moderators: Reflections, admin, hwybear, Radar Identified, Decatur, bend

CuriousDriver14
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 9
Joined:

Officer establishing traffic history re: Speeding

Unread post by CuriousDriver14 on

At about what distance relative to his position (standing still, observing traffic) can an officer make a determination that a vehicle approaching is traveling at a certain rate of speed?

When the officer takes a traffic history and makes a visual assumption about speed, but does so after the laser unit has sounded its' alarm, can the officer claim he truly performed a traffic history?

Thanks.


ynotp
Sr. Member
Sr. Member
Posts: 548
Joined:
Location: Ontario

Posting Awards

Unread post by ynotp on

Perhaps you would get better help if you framed your questions a bit better. What exactly are you trying to get at?


CuriousDriver14
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 9
Joined:

Unread post by CuriousDriver14 on

With regards to traffic history:

If a laser unit is meant to be nothing more than a corroborative tool, the officer must first rely on his/her visual acuity to perform a traffic history, correct?
Having said that, when the officer observes traffic how far away can the officer claim he/she is qualified to see when determining an approaching vehicle's speed before making the determination the laser unit should be aimed at said vehicle to confirm the visual assessment of speed?

With regards to visual back up:

The laser unit is meant to be after before such traffic history has been performed, not before correct?


ynotp
Sr. Member
Sr. Member
Posts: 548
Joined:
Location: Ontario

Posting Awards

Unread post by ynotp on

I don't know how successful you will be going down that road. Lasers have scopes on them and the officer selects a specific vehicle (presumably one he suspects is speeding) aims the laser at and takes a reading. I would presume the scope can be used to extend the officers ability to see.


CuriousDriver14
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 9
Joined:

Unread post by CuriousDriver14 on

The scope is designed to help an officer aim the laser unit at a specific target in order to line up the beam, and isn't capable of "extending the officer's ability to see" further.

A laser unit has a maximum range of 9,000+M, while the officer's visual acuity has a significantly lower range. My question is: what is a trained, certified, and qualified officer's visual acuity range? It's certainly not 9,000M when attempting to perform a traffic history and making a visual determination of an oncoming vehicle's rate of speed, correct?


User avatar
highwaystar
Sr. Member
Sr. Member
Posts: 298
Joined:

Posting Awards

Unread post by highwaystar on

There's no fixed standard. Each officer will clearly have a different threshold---some will be able to estimate speed farther than other. Plus, there are several variables at play such as the distance of the vehicle from the officer, weather, lighting conditions, curves/bumps in the roads, etc. Regardless, unless you plan to sue the officer for breaching some standard of care (which would be extremely difficult to win), its hard to imagine why this topic is even of any material importance for you. Is this just some theoretical question you've always wondered about or do you intend to use this topic in court? Without dismissing any court argument you may think is worthy of raising on this point, the officer's estimation is merely one bit of evidence in the case (it is not a critical element of the offence)-----so, if the device confirmed that the car was speeding---that's really the evidence that you should be focusing on since no one expects the estimation to be absolutely accurate. Now, if you plan to argue that the officer didn't have the 'grounds or basis' to suspect speeding (because of his/her inaccurate speed estimation), then I think you'll find that the law will not be on your side. After all, the courts have been expanding police investigation grounds and even so, the criminal standard doesn't apply to provincial offences (which are more liberal).


ynotp
Sr. Member
Sr. Member
Posts: 548
Joined:
Location: Ontario

Posting Awards

Unread post by ynotp on

Interesting.... What if you can establish there is no way that an officer can have reasonably estimated speed or come to suspect speeding in the first place? Today I observed cars being pulled to the side for speeding as they were coming through an underpass.


CuriousDriver14
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 9
Joined:

Unread post by CuriousDriver14 on

highwaystar wrote:There's no fixed standard. Each officer will clearly have a different threshold---some will be able to estimate speed farther than other. Plus, there are several variables at play such as the distance of the vehicle from the officer, weather, lighting conditions, curves/bumps in the roads, etc. Regardless, unless you plan to sue the officer for breaching some standard of care (which would be extremely difficult to win), its hard to imagine why this topic is even of any material importance for you. Is this just some theoretical question you've always wondered about or do you intend to use this topic in court? Without dismissing any court argument you may think is worthy of raising on this point, the officer's estimation is merely one bit of evidence in the case (it is not a critical element of the offence)-----so, if the device confirmed that the car was speeding---that's really the evidence that you should be focusing on since no one expects the estimation to be absolutely accurate. Now, if you plan to argue that the officer didn't have the 'grounds or basis' to suspect speeding (because of his/her inaccurate speed estimation), then I think you'll find that the law will not be on your side. After all, the courts have been expanding police investigation grounds and even so, the criminal standard doesn't apply to provincial offences (which are more liberal).
When an officer stands on the side of the road holding a laser unit and observing approaching traffic through the laser unit, and not conducting a traffic history before raising the laser unit and aiming it, I submit the officer was not in a position to conduct a traffic history. If the laser unit is picking out moving vehicles at distances greater than what the officer can visually confirm with regards to rate of speed then the officer, in my opinion, didn't follow correct procedure. That is one of the arguments I will be making in court on behalf of the defendant. And while it's just one bit of the puzzle, it will create reasonable doubt as I'll present it. Another argument will be questioning the officer's visual acuity based on some incorrect information the officer volunteered about the highway and its' markings. I should add (without getting into too many specifics) that this specific stretch of highway is quite unique as I discovered and lends significant credibility to the issues I've touched upon because of its' layout. My intention was never going to question the speed involved, my intention was to question the officer's procedure and I like my chances. I will not attempt to trap the officer into admitting fault, but rather I believe the officer will have no choice but to be forthcoming and honest based on the evidence I've prepared and based on the laser unit reading itself (X KM/H @ X Metres)


User avatar
highwaystar
Sr. Member
Sr. Member
Posts: 298
Joined:

Posting Awards

Unread post by highwaystar on

It sounds to me like you are planning to argue the Kologi case principle that since manufacturer instructions require officers to estimate the speed before activating the radar unit, a reasonable doubt is raised on the accuracy of the device where the officer fails to do so. The decision in Hovinga followed and explained it well. However, that was a JP being bound to the judge's decision in Kologi.

Unfortunately, your legal hurdle will be conflicting decisions that go against Kologi; two of which are also appeal cases. As such, be prepared to argue: R. v.Priolo, R.v.Volfson, and most importantly, R. v. Xu.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.


User avatar
Decatur
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 697
Joined:

Posting Awards

Moderator

Unread post by Decatur on

First of all the term is tracking history, second depending on the manufacturer of the radarl/lidar there is no requirement to perform a tracking history in most manuals. However, it is still taught and there is no requirement to estimate the speed of a target vehicle. It is sufficient to state that the target was in excess of the posted speed.


CuriousDriver14
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 9
Joined:

Unread post by CuriousDriver14 on

Decatur wrote:First of all the term is tracking history, second depending on the manufacturer of the radarl/lidar there is no requirement to perform a tracking history in most manuals. However, it is still taught and there is no requirement to estimate the speed of a target vehicle. It is sufficient to state that the target was in excess of the posted speed.
Putting aside whether the officer actually performed a tracking history (I believe I can demonstrate he did not), if the officer states he observed a vehicle appearing to speed but places the vehicle's position prior to the posted speed limit and aims his laser at the vehicle while it's yet to enter the posted speed limit zone, how can the officer then state he observed the vehicle speeding? Is this approach taught?

Furthermore, the officer's notes state the posted speed limit was further away from him than it in fact is, thereby making his laser unit reading at X meters appear to be in the posted speed limit zone when it in fact is not.

Given these issues, how can the officer be accurately observing and estimating relative speeds given his inaccurate visual acuity? I imagine these actions go against the officer's training and operational procedures?


User avatar
highwaystar
Sr. Member
Sr. Member
Posts: 298
Joined:

Posting Awards

Unread post by highwaystar on

You're still going to be left with the actual device's readings in evidence. So, if the officer testifies that he/she locked the vehicle with the device within the new speed limit zone, then even if he did not conduct a proper visual estimation (or none at all!) within the new speed limit area, then the case law (as I provided in my earlier post) holds that the device's readings are sufficient evidence. So, while raising the concept of tracking history and inconsistencies certainly can help create a diversion for the court, the elephant in the room will still be the device's readings! A savvy prosecutor or JP will be able to see through the tactic.


CuriousDriver14
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 9
Joined:

Unread post by CuriousDriver14 on

highwaystar wrote:You're still going to be left with the actual device's readings in evidence. So, if the officer testifies that he/she locked the vehicle with the device within the new speed limit zone, then even if he did not conduct a proper visual estimation (or none at all!) within the new speed limit area, then the case law (as I provided in my earlier post) holds that the device's readings are sufficient evidence. So, while raising the concept of tracking history and inconsistencies certainly can help create a diversion for the court, the elephant in the room will still be the device's readings! A savvy prosecutor or JP will be able to see through the tactic.
I'm counting on just that. I have every intention of accepting the device's readings and will ensure the officer testifies that he's in agreement with the device's reading as it's entered into evidence.

My question is once I present the court with evidence that the officer's reading confirms the vehicle was outside the new speed limit zone, thereby invalidating the laser unit's reading in addition to the officer's testimony as far as I'm concerned, how could the prosecution continue to rely on the officer's testimony? It's one of those rare occasions I suppose where the only factor to establish reasonable doubt (and innocence in this case) is for all intense purposes an otherwise valid laser unit reading which registers speeding. I realize the JP will side with an officer 99.9% of the time, but in this case how could he/she?


Still would love to hear re: what a typical officer's reply would be when asked at what maximum distance he/she is comfortable stating their visual acuity can observe a vehicle traveling at a specific rate of speed?






Post Reply

Return to “General Talk”