Troopers target tailgaters with new laser guns

GARY, Ind. - Indiana State Police have a new tool to determine whether drivers are tailgating and should get a ticket.

Laser speed guns used by troopers can capture the time elapsed between the back bumper of one vehicle and the front bumper of the one behind it. The guns also take an accurate image of the license plate and driver's face.

Two of the guns, which cost $5,500 apiece, have been deployed along the Borman Expressway, the Post-Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/S0d8SX ).

Sgt. Ann Wojas said every Indiana State Police district will eventually receive one of the guns.

Anyone traveling within 2 seconds of the nearest vehicle is considered too close and can be ticketed. Wojas said the fine for following too closely is about $140, including court costs.

State police say the guns remove the need for troopers to make judgment calls about what's too close.

"It's awfully hard to dispute this in court," Wojas said.

Troopers can use the gun on an overpass or more along a shoulder of the road.

"I catch them before they get to me," Master Trooper Russell Hayes said. "I have the evidence right here," pointing to his laser gun. "It's definitely been helping."

Sgt. Wanda Clay, a trooper in the commercial vehicle enforcement division, said police already had the speed gun technology, but that she got the idea to mesh it with the software to detect tailgaters because she was frustrated by having to investigate many accidents involving truckers.

"We're tired of coming out here, we've got so many, so I'm the spark of this project."

Clay said the project's goal is to remind motorists of the dangers of tailgating.

"We have the tools now," she said.

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Information from: Post-Tribune, http://www.post-trib.com

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