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More about speeding tickets and offences

Hundreds of thousands of Ontario drivers get a speeding ticket every year. By far, it’s the most frequently laid traffic ticket in the Highway Traffic Act.

In order of use, these are the four methods Ontario police use to detect speeding:

  • Radar
  • Lidar
  • Aircraft surveillance
  • Pacing


Radar is used from either a stationary or moving police car. Many of these cars have both a front and rear mounted antenna. A simple switch gives officers the ability to choose which antenna to use based on the traffic they want to track.

In stationary mode, officers typically hold the antenna in their hand and aim it at the target vehicle regardless the direction it may be traveling. In moving mode, officers can track vehicles going in the same direction as the moving police car or track approaching vehicles or those moving in the opposite direction of the police car.


Lidar, or laser as it is sometimes called, must be operated from a stationary position. The Officer looks at the vehicle through a sight which magnifies the view of the approaching vehicle. The officer then places the red dot of the sight on the front grill or licence plate to obtain the speed of that vehicle.

Because the beam of the LIDAR is narrower than a radar beam, the unit can be more vehicle-specific than radar. At a distance of 1000 feet or 304 meters, the radar beam is approximately 150 feet or 45 meters wide. The LIDAR beam, on the other hand, is only 5 feet or 1.5 meter wide at the same distance. As a result, more and more drivers are detected and charged with a speeding offence due to LIDAR.

Aircraft Surveillance

Aircraft surveillance spots speeding vehicles from the air. Because of this, it’s often less obvious to the driver until it's too late. The police typically use aircraft surveillance during the summer to spot speeding vehicles. This is a popular practice in cottage country with its high traffic volume, especially on weekends.

The police observer in the aircraft has a small computer that calculates the time it takes a vehicle to travel between specific road markings, of a known distance apart, on the highway. The average speed of the vehicle is checked over the distance and the aircraft observer radios this information to strategically placed officers telling them which vehicle to stop and what speed to charge the driver.


The use of pacing has dwindled due to the onset of radar and lidar technology. With pacing, the police car follows a vehicle in an attempt to match or travel just below its speed over a specific distance or time while observing the reading on the speedometer in the police car.

How your HELP agent can fight these speed detection methods

All of these methods of speed detection can be extremely accurate. However, in each case, the officer must follow strict guidelines in relation to the setting up, testing and operation of the instruments used to calculate the speed of the vehicle.

An error or oversight on the officer’s part in using these procedures can result in a dismissal of the charge. Your HELP agent is trained to recognize these subtle errors and inconsistencies. When the agent brings this to the court’s attention, charges are often dismissed.

Without the knowledge and experience to ask the right questions, many people who represent themselves are convicted of speeding offences.

What can you do to fight your traffic or speeding ticket?

To get the best outcome possible, work with qualified traffic ticket expert from HELP. They know the laws inside out and what it takes to get the speeding ticket dropped, demerit points and fines reduced and how to keep insurance rates in check.

This can happen for you with HELP on your side. All of our paralegals have years of experience and are licenced by the Law Society of Upper Canada- the body governing all Parlegals and Lawyers in the Province of Ontario.

Learn more about HELP or find an office near you.