Pacing is one of the oldest tricks used by police to measure speed.
Typically the technique works this way.
The officer follows behind the suspected speeder for a sufficient distance at a constant speed, and then using his speedometer estimates the speed of the violator.
And as demonstrated in this video sent to us by a client, it can work the other way around too with an officer driving in front of you at a sufficient distance, watching in his rear view mirror and estimating your speed by referencing his speedometer.
You may have noticed that we use the word estimate because there are several elements that the officer proves for the citation to stand up in court.
The first is that patrol car’s speedometer should have a calibration check within the past six months.
But here is something you need to also keep in mind, as many police cars today have dash cams installed in their patrol cars that are constantly running.
Because of this the officer can introduce this video into evidence to back up his claim of your speeding violation by accurately measuring your average speed using the rate x time = distance formula.
Now if you do decide to fight a pacing speeding violation here are some tips
Subpoena the following through the court:
A copy of the speedometer calibration records for the patrol car
The patrol cars service and maintenance records
Copies of any video recordings made during this alleged speeding violation
Then once you receive these records check to see if there was any service work done to the patrol car since the speedometer was a calibrated, such as transmission service or new tires, all of which could impact the accuracy of the calibration.
Then if a video was provided, you can then estimate your average speed by measuring the distance between two known points, such as mile markers, using the rate x speed = distance formula yourself.
So you maybe asking yourself what is the best defense to avoid getting cited using the pacing method.
Well in this situation its pretty evident, never follow an officer who is speeding, even though you may think he is violating the law because in most situations he isn’t and here is why.
In Arizona as in most states an officer can legally violate motor vehicle statues in the performance of his duties, as long as he is not acting in a reckless manner.
Now in situations where an officer maybe following behind pacing you the best defense is to always keep an eye out in your mirror and be suspicious of any vehicle following behind that is matching your speed.