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New laser to help Joplin Police crack down on tailgating - KOAM TV 7

New laser to help Joplin Police crack down on drivers who tailgate

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The Joplin Police Department is now able to show evidence of a person tailgating before a possible crash.

Joplin police say there have been 948 accidents since the beginning of the year, and "following too closely" is the third highest cause of these crashes.

Officers say it's happening on almost every main thoroughfare.

"It's more of a problem on the busier streets, like Range Line, 32nd, 7th Street," says Officer Cory Waters of the Joplin Police Department.

Drivers tailgate with no passable excuse.

"Distracted driving - we're so busy and not paying attention to our driving - we're worried about what's going on at work, we're worrying about what's going on at home, we're talking on our cell phone, we're listening to the radio station, we're texting while we're driving," says Corporal Dan Haskins, also of the Joplin Police Department.

Any of those distractions can cause crashes.

And tailgating is an offense.

"I don't know of any state in the area, in the Four State area, that it's not a violation of law," says Haskins.

Now, the Joplin Police Department has a new tool that will provide evidence in court.  The $4,000 laser gun was purchased with grant money.

Officers put the laser gun towards both a first vehicle and the one behind it and a computer inside the gun calculates the space in between.

"The university studies show that for crash reconstruction, or crash investigation, it takes 1.5 seconds as your reaction perception time," says Haskins.

That's 1.5 seconds for a driver to put their foot on the brake.

Officers say to make sure you don't get a ticket, follow 3 seconds behind.

A driver pulled over while we were with Joplin police officers says he was very happy police were using this new technology.  However, as with most motorists pulled over, he did not want to be the one pulled over by police.

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