How Do Police Catch Speeders in Colorado?

Dec 13, 2021 | Traffic Defense

Go Too Fast and You’ll Be Furious When Police Bust You For Speeding

If you are wondering how Colorado Springs police catch speeders you’re not alone. Colorado police officers issue thousands of speeding tickets to drivers on our roads and highways every year. In fact, according to insurance website Insurify, almost 14 percent of Colorado drivers have a speeding ticket on their record, making Colorado the sixth-most lead-footed state in the nation.

When those flashing lights appear behind you and a Colorado Springs police officer pulls you over for speeding, their basis for doing so can come from any one of several techniques and technologies. Most Colorado police catch speeders using one of the following tools.


Perhaps the most common way police catch speeders, radar uses radio waves reflected off a moving vehicle to determine how fast the car is traveling down the road. Radar units generate those waves with a transmitter. When they bounce back off your car, a receiver picks them up and amplifies them to a speed-readout device that can analyze them and calculate the vehicle’s speed.

With a car-mounted unit, the officer reads your speed on a small console on or under the dashboard. The unit’s digital readout displays the highest speed read during the second or two your vehicle passes through the beam. Once you’ve passed that beam, slowing down won’t get you out of a ticket as the officer already has the reading they need to bust you. With a radar gun, the officer manually points the gun at the car and pulls a trigger to measure a vehicle’s speed.


While you may have a good eye for seeing speed traps up ahead, it is often the police driving behind you for a while who wind up issuing you a ticket. They do so using a technique called “pacing.’

When pacing a driver, an officer keeps a constant distance between their vehicle and the suspected speeder for a certain distance (usually at least a quarter of a mile), using their own speedometer to estimate the driver’s speed. Since Colorado police are often in unmarked cars when utilizing this method, it may be hard to know that you are the object of pacing until it is too late.

Aircraft Speed Detection

In some of the more remote regions of Colorado, especially on state highways with less traffic, police may use aircraft to enforce speeding laws. Law enforcement aircraft can use two methods for determining a vehicle’s speed. The first is to time how long it takes the car to pass between two highway markings at a premeasured distance apart. The second involves aerial pacing of the vehicle, similar to what a patrol car would do. After the aircraft obtains evidence of speeding, they contact a patrolman on the ground to pull the suspect over.

LIDAR (Laser Speed Detectors)

Similar in appearance and function to a hand-held radar gun, a laser speed detector, also known as LIDAR, uses a beam of low-powered laser light that bounces off the targeted vehicle and returns back to a receiver in the unit. The unit then calculates the speed of the targeted vehicle.

Laser speed detectors measure the distance between the device and the targeted car by calculating how long it takes the light to return to the laser gun after it is reflected off the target vehicle. The detector makes about 40 of these distance measurements during only a third of a second, then divides the light’s round-trip distance by the time to get the average speed of the vehicle. LIDAR is making it easier than ever for police to catch speeders in Colorado.

No Method Police Use To Catch Speeders Is Perfect

As with any other offense, just because an officer accuses you of speeding doesn’t mean you were actually speeding. Similarly, just because the reading on their radar or other device calculated you as being over the speed limit doesn’t mean you were, in fact, exceeding the speed limit.

A skilled Colorado Springs traffic attorney may be able to challenge the officer’s technique when pacing or using a speed-detection device. Similarly, radar guns and other speed detectors are complicated pieces of technology that need to be maintained and calibrated correctly in order to produce accurate results. Your traffic lawyer can investigate whether police have properly maintained and utilized the device that the officer relied on when ticketing you.

Police Catch Speeders in Colorado Springs Every Day

Have you recently received a speeding ticket in Colorado? Before you accept guilt and pay your ticket, contact a traffic lawyer with experience in Colorado Springs traffic court. By knowing the players, the ever-changing laws and the best way to go about getting your case resolved in the local Colorado Springs traffic courts, an experienced traffic attorney will protect your driving record and get you back on the road.

Elizabeth M.

Elizabeth M.