Troopers gave the I-Team the first look at the new technology being used on a highway patrol plane.
Now, troopers can clock your speed and record your car on video from thousands of feet in the air.
Trooper Andrew Edinger said from inside the plane, “We’re tracking vehicles on the ground. Looking for the aggressive violations.”
The state patrol is finishing up testing with the new system. Expecting to use it to write tickets soon.
A crew in the air will spot the drivers, and troopers on the ground will stop the cars. Again, more than just speeders.
Lt. Justin Cromer said, “Everyone hates road rage. Everybody hates the tailgater that won’t get off their tail for miles and miles at a time.”
He added, “From the aircraft we can monitor driving behavior for miles.”
Think about it. A trooper watching for speeders can only see a short distance. And, what’s the first thing you do as a driver when you see a trooper? You hit the brakes. The crew in the air can get a much better overall view of what’s happening on the highway.
Back inside the plane, trooper Edinger said, “I keep tracking the vehicle, and I can direct the ground units.”
Before now, troopers used a stopwatch and markings on the highway to try to catch speeders from the air.
Now, all they need to know comes in automatically.
Drivers we met told us they’d never considered speeds getting clocked from the air.
One woman said, simply, “Wow.”
We also asked about a concern some of you may have about a camera watching from above.
Lt. Cromer said, “We’re not looking inside cars. We’re identifying vehicles that are speeding. We don’t have any idea who the driver is. That’s the ground officer’s job.”
The technology is similar to what we’ve seen used by the Cleveland police helicopters.
But, the patrol says the system is only being used for speed enforcement in a few places nationwide.
The patrol expects the new air enforcement to be challenged in court.
But, troopers plan to move forward with actual enforcement soon in central Ohio. Then, that will be expanded statewide.