How does the aircraft used by Florida Highway Patrol measure a person’s speed?
Answer: So, Florida is a unique state in that we still use a fixed-wing aircraft for speed enforcement. So, most states abandoned this years ago, but Florida uses it on a daily basis. And the way it works is, there are white lines¬—primarily used on the interstate—there are white lines located 1,320 feet from each other, so a quarter-mile distance, each white line is. And there could be several sets of these white lines. And the state of Florida is broken into troops, so there would probably be five troops in the entire state, and each troop has a pilot.So, what they do is, they schedule an aircraft speed day, and they’ll recruit maybe 10 or 15 stopping troopers, because they need ground troopers—obviously the pilot doesn’t pull people over, the pilot just clocks individuals. And he has a stopwatch up there, multiple stopwatches, actually, and they have a built-in calculation, so the distance traveled, you know, what it should be. And so he pushes the button when it goes across the first set of lines, pushes the button when it goes across the second set of lines, it tells them how long it took, and then it calculates—it’s already built in—it calculates the speed. And then what he does is he calls to a trooper on the ground, who then pulls the vehicle over. The whole time, the trooper in the air is not only clocking, but he’s maintaining a visual sighting of the vehicle in question. He can’t identify the driver because that’s a necessity in Florida—they have to be able to prove who the driver is, and that’s why they have the stopping trooper. So the stopping trooper pulls them over, and the pilot says, “Yes, that’s the correct vehicle.” And then the stopping trooper on the ground will issue a citation alleging that they’re traveling, whatever it is, distance that they’re traveling above the posted speed limit. Typically, done on the interstate and on the Florida Turnpike.