Speed enforced by “aircraft”?

Speed enforced by aircraft sign on the side of the highway in Suffolk Virginia.

The thought crossed my mind the other day that it is surprising law enforcement is not utilizing drones to enforce speeding.

Recently, a record for the fastest production car was attempted by SSC in the Tuatara. While there is a lot of drama behind the run, what I want to focus on is the use of time and markings on the road to gauge the speed of a vehicle. A few YouTubers, most notably one that I watch, Shmee150, questioned the top speed run based on the time it took for the car to reach certain points on the road according to the video.

That concept is what is used by law enforcement to track speeding cars by aircraft. They set up lines on the road a particular distance apart and then time how long it takes the car to go from line to line. It should not be difficult for a State Highway Patrol officer to deploy a small drone to fly up and hover over the highway to watch traffic cross from line to line. And now days, with technology being as it is, it could possibly even catch license plates to mail the driver a ticket. Either that or they have the drone send them the results and the trooper can be further up the road to catch the speeding culprit. The drone would relay the proof to the officer of the culprit speeding. Drones would also be hard to spot by those trying to get away with speeding. Planes and helicopters are pretty easy to spot in the sky, and if you knew what they were doing so close to the road, you can keep your right foot in check. Drones are much smaller making them almost unnoticeable until it is too late.

Drones are significantly cheaper to fly and maintain than the standard aircraft that is/was used to monitor speed from the air. Granted, here in Virginia, they have not used aircraft to monitor speeds in quite some time. (A whole side blog could be how much road signs cost which is probably a reason these haven’t been removed.) But, it wouldn’t surprise me that if in the near future drones will be used to catch speeding motorists. They can fly themselves pretty much, are easy to transport, deploy, and are inexpensive to build and maintain. They could provide a large return on investment in a very short period of time. I wonder what why this has not happened yet? At the same time, I am glad it hasn’t happened because I think the freedom of the open road is still free. Drones would begin to drastically cut in on the freedom one feels on the road.

5 thoughts on “Speed enforced by “aircraft”?

      1. I just saw a news article that showed the California highway patrol still uses planes with pilots and officers in the plane to enforce speed by aircraft. So, I am not sure if drones will be used soon. Although…they really should be. It seems cheaper and easier.

      2. I agree it would be seem to be cheaper as planes need fuel and more to get them off the ground. Drones may be the way of the future and people who have the knowledge to make them work in everyday society.

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