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California teen offers GPS challenge to speeding rap

Radar gun mistaken, log shows

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A California teenager is contesting a speeding ticket which claims he was doing 62mph in a 45mph zone, since a GPS system fitted to his Toyota Celica appears to show he was actually within the limit.

Shaun Malone, 17, was caught on 4 July by a Petaluma police officer using a radar gun, AP reports. The lad had in the past enjoyed "putting the pedal to the metal", so his mother and stepdad Roger Rude - himself a retired police deputy - decided to fit his car with a GPS which "monitors the location and speed" of the Japanese wheels.

Malone was apparently none too pleased with the device, "originally designed for trucking companies, rental car agencies and other businesses with fleets", which "sends a signal every 30 seconds that records his whereabouts and travel speed" and alerts his parents by email if he tops 70mph.

He'd already lost his privileges once after breaking the rules, but when his stepfather downloaded the log pertaining to the time of the alleged incident, it "showed Shaun was going the speed limit within 100 feet of where a Petaluma officer clocked him speeding". He then encouraged his stepson to fight the ticket.

Rude said: "I'm not trying to get a guilty kid off. I've always had faith in our justice system. I would like to see the truth prevail and I would like Shaun to see that the system works."

He added: "Radar is a pretty good tool, but it's not an infallible tool. With the GPS tracker, there is no doubt about it. There is no human interference."

Petaluma police Lt. John Edwards said "he could not discuss Shaun's case", but disputed Rude's accuracy claim. He countered: "GPS works on satellite signals, so you have a delay of some type. Is it a couple-second delay? A 30-second delay? Because in that time people can speed up, slow down."

A Sonoma County traffic commissioner is "expected to rule within the next two weeks whether to dismiss Shaun's ticket based on Rude's written argument that the motorcycle officer's radar gun was either improperly calibrated or thrown off by another speeding car". ®

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