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VASCAR Information

VASCAR (Visual Average Speed Computer And Recorder) is a type of device for calculating the speed of a moving vehicle.


How does VASCAR work?

A VASCAR unit couples a stopwatch with a simple computer. An operator records the moment that a vehicle passes two fixed objects (such as a white circle or square painted on the carriageway) that are a known distance apart. The vehicle’s average speed is then calculated by dividing the distance by the time. By applying the mean value theorem, the operator can deduce that the vehicle’s speed must equal its average speed at some time between the measurements.

When can VASCAR be used?

VASCAR can be used from a moving or stationary patrol vehicle, and the target vehicle may be travelling in the same direction, in front of or behind the officer. It can be approaching from the front, or even on an intersecting highway. This technique can also be used to determine a vehicle’s speed from helicopters and other aerial platforms, making it easier to secure a conviction.

Other visual detection methods

  • Detection via airplane: Similar to VASCAR, an officer in an airplane or helicopter will calculate how long it takes a vehicle to cover a certain distance on the ground (usually depicted by stripes on the road). The officer calculates the speed of the vehicle and radios it to officers on the ground to proceed with a traffic stop.
  • Visual estimate: This is one of the least precise methods of determining speed as it involves a lot of guess work. These are typically the easiest types of tickets to beat and are usually never issued as officers know the lack of accuracy of such citations.

Can visual citations be beat?

Usually, if you receive a traffic citation in which the speed has been calculated with a visual method, you will be more likely to be able to get out of the ticket as it is the least precise method of acquiring the speed and it has the highest possible rate of problems.

Visual Speed Calculations

Speed Chart


Received a ticket due to a visual police calculation?

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