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LOGAN -- Police are using a new technology to gain the upper hand on a widespread problem in their city: Drivers who follow too closely and cause crashes.
The city has acquired two “TruCams,” which are radar guns that use a laser to gauge following distance in reference to time, and then videotape violators.
“It was hard to say a violation had occurred until there was a collision, and now we can actually measure that following distance and enforce that state statute that’s already on the books,” officer Shand Nazer said Monday.
Police say state law requires drivers traveling 35 miles per hour or faster to have at least two seconds of following distance. Below 35 miles per hour, drivers must exhibit a “reasonable and prudent” following speed. Logan police are now pulling over drivers who are giving less than one second of following distance.
Our goal here is more of an education campaign... We're hoping that the people will just take a look at their driving habits and allow more distance.
–Officer Shand Nazer
“Our goal here is more of an education campaign,” Nazer said. “There may certainly be some citations for violations as part of that, but we’re hoping that the people will just take a look at their driving habits and allow more distance.”
Nazer says following distance has been a major problem in the city, particularly on Main Street. As a result, there have been a number of rear-end crashes.
Drivers seemed to verify the existence of the problem.
“I notice that all the time. [Drivers here] don’t understand the distance between cars,” E Cooper said. “I’ve seen some accidents around here that were just ridiculous. There’s no need for them.”
Another driver questioned whether the radar guns will truly give police accurate results.
“If that were me to get a ticket, I’d want to know the angle that they were sitting at and if it’s even a viable way of charting that – if they could even do that with the technology,” Corey Norton said.
Police insist the guns give no false positives. Their plan, they say, isn’t to write a lot of tickets. Rather, they just want to tell people to knock it off.
“We’re hoping this will help us be proactive and actually educate the public and stop the accidents from happening rather than just responding to them after they happen,” Nazer said.
While Logan Police appear to be at the forefront of radar-gun technology, they say the Trucams are being used successfully in other parts of the country. Nazer says case law already exists in Ohio to support their use.