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Quiz 3 - Traffic Radar Quiz

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1. The term "radar" is an acronym for Radio Detection and Ranging.

Correct Answer: TRUE.

Your Answer: %$Q1M%

Used as a speed detection device since the late 1940s, radar uses radio waves reflected off moving objects to determine speed. To put it in more simplistic terms. a radar unit generates a signal that sends a beam at your car, once it hits your vehicle, it immediately bounces back to the radar operator where the signal is analyzed and displayed in a readout device.

2. X, K, and Ka bands refers to the frequency level used by the radar unit.

Correct Answer: TRUE.

Your Answer: %$Q2M%

Radar systems send out radio waves similar to a radio station but at a much greater speed -- higher the frequency, the more accurate the speed reading. For example, a AM radio station sends a radio signal at about 1 million waves per second but a traffic radar unit can emit signals that are up to 36 billion waves per second. X-band (11GHz), K-band (24 GHz) and Ka-band (32-36 GHz).

3. Radar is the most frequent method used for speed detection.

Correct Answer: TRUE.

Your Answer: %$Q3M%

It's by far the clear weapon of choice in a traffic officer's arsenal, however, many local law enforcement agencies are beginning to use Laser as an alternative.

4. Radar uses a laser pointer-type beam which is capable of determining which vehicle is being tracked.

Correct Answer: FALSE.

Your Answer: %$Q4M%

A traffic radar unit is incapable of determining with vehicle is being tracked because the signal the radar unit emits a cone shaped beam. This beam has the width of approximately two lanes at a distance of 100 feet from the unit and increases to over four lanes of traffic at a distance of 1,500 feet.

5. Radar is NOT subject to radio or microwave interference.

Correct Answer: FALSE.

Your Answer: %$Q5M%

According to a International Bureau of Police Chiefs report, traffic radar is subject to electromagnetic interference from airport radar, CB or Ham or police radio, cellular phones, power lines, power substations and neon lights. In studies, all have been proven to cause a radar unit to miscalculate a vehicle's speed.

6. For speed detection, there are three different types of radar in use today: rotating antenna system, traffic radar and instant-on.

Correct Answer: FALSE.

Your Answer: %$Q6M%

There are actually two types of radar used today. (1) Rotating antenna system which is utilized by the military, airports, ships at sea, etc. The second (2) is traffic radar such as a radar gun or a stationary unit mounted in a vehicle. Instant-on actually refers to a type of mode a radar unit operates. Typically used by handheld units, it only shoots a beam when an officer activates it to calculate a vehicle's speed. This prevents radar detectors from picking up the signal until its too late.

7. Radar has a high accuracy rate under ideal conditions.

Correct Answer: TRUE.

Your Answer: %$Q7M%

The key word is "ideal " As it stands, radar systems are extremely accurate as long as the following conditions all exist at the same time:

  • The road must be straight and flat.
  • There must be good visibility.
  • There needs to be light traffic.
  • The operator needs to be properly trained to recognize false signals.

8. Radar Detectors are legal in all 50 states.

Correct Answer: FALSE.

Your Answer: %$Q8M%

It is illegal to possess a radar detector unit in your vehicle while driving in Virginia and Washington DC. If caught, they will typically confiscate the detector. Commercial vehicle operators are forbidden to have a radar detector unit -- in any state.

9. Radar units with the self-calibration feature should always be considered accurate and reliable.

Correct Answer: FALSE.

Your Answer: %$Q9M%

Virtually all scientific instruments used for measuring need to be regularly calibrated to ensure accuracy. The most common method is an internal checking mechanism that the unit employs to make sure it is accurate. But is this reliable? When a unit self-calibrates itself, it consists of the unit reading a signal generated by an internal frequency-generating device called a crystal. The resulting number is to correlate with a predetermined speed. The problem is that the test does not measure both the frequency and counting circuits concurrently. In a Connecticut case State v. Tomannelli, 216 A.2d 625 (1965) reports that a certified tuning fork is the only acceptable method of calibrating a radar unit.

10. All law enforcement officers in the U.S. who operate a traffic radar unit must be licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Correct Answer: FALSE.

Your Answer: %$Q10M%

This may come as a shock to many quiz takers by the operator of a traffic radar unit does not need to be certified or licensed. The law enforcement agency is, however, required to be licensed by the FCC but not the operator. In other words, the department needs to have possess a FCC certificate but not the officer using the radar unit to tag traffic violators.


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