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Police lasers nab tailgaters. You may be next

November 12, 2009

By Kay Helbling

Did you know that the local and state police in Oregon are using a new laser technology to ticket tailgaters? A fellow client of my hair dresser found out the hard way after a recent trip down Hwy 217.

A lot of things change over the years, but getting filled in on the latest gossip from your corner beauty salon is as true today as it was 50 years ago. The latest news tip I heard at my last cut ‘n curl session could save you several hundred dollars. A new laser device being used by Oregon police can measure how many feet and how many seconds you are from the bumper of the car in front of you. It could cost you up to $355 in fines if you are in violation of the safe travelling distance rules. The device has the capability of measuring your speed as well so you could get a tailgating ticket as well as a speeding ticket.

Following too closely is the number one cause of traffic crashes in Oregon. If you are in an accident the device has the capability of determining what role tailgating may have played in the crash. So by following the rules of the road you can not only avoid a hefty traffic fine but save on injuries and property damages as well.

So, what is “safe?” The Oregon Rules of the Road don’t establish a set distance that is considered a safe following distance. Rules simply requires that vehicles follow at a reasonable and prudent distance, having regard for the speed of the vehicles and the traffic and the condition of the highway. Some highway departments have set one car length for every 10mph you are travelling. ODOT recommends the 2-4 Second Rule as a method for measuring a safe distance.

For those law-abiding citizens out there who may feel they are travelling at safe distances, just be aware, a few yards could be a costly lesson. For those not-so-law-abiding citizens we’ve all had the displeasure of feeling on the tailgate of our vehicles. Maybe after writing out a few hefty checks for their actions, we’ll see a bit more civility on the roads.

If you’d like more information on the laser device program or how to use the 2-4 second rule you can access a brochure produced by ODOT by linking to Space Out, It’s the Law.

Kay was an insurance adjuster and executive for 15 years, a small business owner, and a teacher for ten.  But, her most fulfilling work has been as a mother of her two boys. She is now enjoying an empty nest with her best friend—her husband.

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Discuss this article

Dona November 12, 2009

While I try not to tail gate, I do use HWY 217 a lot. I’ll have to be more aware.

Ally November 12, 2009

It’s so hard to keep the recommended distance from others as if you do, someone cuts in. Thanks for the warning about the new technology.

Suz November 12, 2009

I have never seen a police officer write a ticket for tailgating, so this comes as a surprise for me. I expect the areas where they are using this will see greatly improved driving, correct?

Dee Dee November 12, 2009

As technology gets better, the guilty ahve fewer places to hide.

bodingus November 12, 2009

i always thot tailgating was having a party ,,food drinks ect out of the back of your vehicle at a ball game ,sports event ,or simply a outdoor party,with good food and drink.

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