Hwy 287, East of Childress (~ 5 miles out of town)

Childress, TexasJun 19, 20180 Comments

I’d been travelling from Colorado back home to Texas, in a rental car. The Toyota RAV4 has this cool feature that allows you to set your speed and which automatically slows you down (using radar somehow) if you get too close to another vehicle. I’d been using this almost exclusively for the entire trip at the posted speeds so I could avoid the accidental speeding that almost everyone does.

So, the shorter version is that I got a ticket for going 93 mph even though my cruise control was set at 75 mph! That is an 18 mph error! Just to be clear, I paid the ticket because driving 5 hours back to court to contest the ticket is not happening; not because I was guilty.

At the time I do not recall any car whizzing past me, so I feel pretty sure that the officer did not mistake my vehicle for another similar car (although mine was a plain white SUV, very common).

I’d been using this cruise control for over 16 hours of driving, and always with the flow of traffic, generally the same speed, only rarely passing, but always under the limit. I’d had a couple of occasions of driving around highway patrol, without any notice. That does not prove the accuracy of the cruise control, but there is no way the cruise control was off by 18 mph!

A Theory: There are lots of reasons for a radar to provide erroneous readings, but I wondered if the RAV4 collision avoidance radar might have been interfering with the accuracy of the police radar. Radar uses the echo of a “ping” (output radio wave pulse) to determine speed. If my car is also actively pinging for my collision avoidance, I wonder if that impacts the timing and result of the officer’s speed radar. I assume there is some encoding to prevent this kind of thing, but I only mention my theory in case someone has come across a similar experience.

I do support the Blue, I want to believe this was an error of equipment or training, not abuse of public trust. So, even if this is an honest error, it was an expensive error for me. A speed trap is still a trap whether intentional or not.

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