In the a.m. hours of Saturday, November 1, I was traveling south on Highway 101 toward Goleta from North County. As I approached the Ellwood/Barcara Resort area near Winchester, I noticed a CHP cruiser up ahead on the right shoulder. I slowed to about 72 mph along with the rest of the traffic, when I looked over and saw an officer crouched over and hiding in front of his cruiser pointing a speed gun.
I believe it is fair to say the rate of speed or flow of traffic is generally higher in rural areas or when driving into Goleta from the north and that traffic slows as you approach the city. The CHP conveniently set up their electronic sensors exactly in the area just before this slowing process begins. The cruiser appeared behind me with lights flashing, so I pulled over thinking I had a good chance at a “warning” because I was traveling at roughly 72 mph. The officer told me that I was traveling at a high rate of speed, so I mentioned what my odometer said.
The officer explained to me that his “laser-sensor,” which was positioned 700-feet before his cruiser, indicated I was traveling at 85 mph. I asked him how this “sensor” can pick out the correct vehicle? He told me that the “sensors” are vehicle selective (selective how!?). The odometer on my 1981 automobile maxes-out at 85, and I know I was not maxing-out. It took only10-minutes to be cited, and I was then back on the road.
When returning later that evening, I noticed two more vehicles pulled over in that same area. This was probably going on for at least eight hours. A speeding ticket will cost about $500. At 10 minutes per vehicle (minus breaks), this translates into maybe $20,000 over that eight-hour shift. That must effectively resolve any CHP budget shortfalls.
I question the ethics behind the CHP tactics (and just before the holidays, thank you very much!) as portable digital signs reading “Speed checked by laser-sensors” would be just as effective and without the dishonest undertones.