Maryland Traffic Lawyer Explains “Pacing” Speeding Ticket

What’s “Pacing” and How Does It Work?

One of the many methods employed by officers in Maryland for catching speeding drivers is something known as “pacing.” Pacing is a technique whereby the officer rides behind a car and accelerates (or decelerates, as the case may be) until his speed matches yours and the gap between both cars remains constant.

Once the gap between the two cars is no longer opening or closing, the officer then determines that your speed and his are the same. Given that the officer must have time to find your speed and observe that the gap between the vehicles is holding constant, officers typically must follow the target vehicle for at least two-tenths of a mile, at a bare minimum.

Given the nature of pacing, it’s no surprise that this approach is far more likely than others to suffer from human error. Pacing cases require the officer to multitask and accurately judge not only distance but also speed.

One of the most common problems associated with pacing cases is that officers are tempted to settle on a target vehicle’s speed while accelerating to catch the vehicle. Such readings would indicate a much higher speed than the target vehicle was actually traveling.

Another common flaw in the technique occurs when the officer is next to, rather than directly behind the target vehicle. It’s much more difficult to judge distance and come up with an accurate speed-reading if the officer is not following directly behind the target vehicle.

A final flaw with pacing cases is obvious in nighttime incidents. Drivers have a natural tendency to accelerate if they believe another driver is approaching closely behind them. This means the speeding could be induced by the pacing itself, and not the driver’s behavior.

Need help with a Maryland traffic ticket? Call me at 301-563-9575 or 1-877-566-2408 for a free consultation. I’m an experienced Maryland traffic ticket lawyer and I’d be happy to help. I practice traffic law throughout the entire State of Maryland.