Radar trailers sit on the side of the road, displaying the speed of passing cars. Police use them around town in order to promote driver awareness. And often it’s citizens who determine where they go.
“They act as a reminder to people to slow down, and give us a chance to monitor traffic,” said Lodi Police Department Motor Sgt. Shad Canestrino.
Lodi police have been using radar trailers to track traffic activity for at least 15 years. They’re used on roads with frequent traffic accidents or in areas where citizens complain about the speed of passing cars. And in many cases, one complaint is enough.
“They show people we’ve done at least one thing to take care of speeding in their neighborhood,” said Canestrino, who adds radar trailers usually stay in the same location for one or two days.
While radar trailers keep drivers honest and cause some speeders to pump the brakes, they don’t take pictures of passing cars, Canestrino said. They do, however, record the speed of every car that passes by. They also keep track of the highest and lowest speeds detected, as well as determine the average speed.
Canestrino said the highest speeds recorded are typically 15 miles over the speed limit and the average is usually within five miles per hour over the speed limit.
Radar trailers are just one way Lodi police enforce speed limits.
If radar trailers show that drivers have a tendency to speed on certain streets, police know where they need to step up enforcement.
“Any type of traffic enforcement is always a multi-prong approach,” Canestrino said. “Our first choice is to educate people to drive within the speed limits. Redundancy is a great learning tool.”
Currently, Lodi police are positioning radar trailers near schools, since classes are scheduled to resume on Friday.
Canestrino said this strategy will hopefully remind drivers to watch their speed in school zones, especially since the speed limit drops to 25 miles per hour in those areas.
“Our goal is to remind people to slow down,” Canestrino said.
On Wednesday, police set up a radar trailer near Erma B. Reese Elementary School, where the speed limit has been 40 mph throughout the day during the summer, but will revert to 25 mph while school is in session.
“I hope people slow down because they realize it’s the right thing to do,” Canestrino said.
Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.