College student out-smarts police radar gun with help of smart phone

1:43 AM, Feb 28, 2011   |    comments
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SAN JOSE, CA - A UC Davis student said he beat a speeding ticket in Yolo County traffic court, largely due to the data collected from his smartphone.

When he was pulled over by police, Sahas Katta, 21, said he was running an application called "My Tracks," which records statistics like average speed, distance traveled, and maximum speed during a trip.

Katta said he was cited for doing 40 mph in a 25 mph zone, heading north on F Street near Covell Boulevard.

"That was actually the first time I'd been pulled over. I'd never dealt with the cops before," Katta said.

Katta said he was so nervous, he could hardly form conversational sentences with the police officer.

"I didn't really know what to say, so I just said, 'I apologize,' took the slip, and headed my own way," Katta said.

When he got to where he was going, Katta realized the "My Tracks" application was running the entire time. He checked the stats for his trip, and according to the application, his maximum speed never got above 26 mph.

"I just really didn't want to put up with the fee, and I felt like I had some evidence," Katta said.

Armed with that information, Katta made an appearance in Yolo County traffic court.

The judge ruled in his favor.

"Clearly, this had not come up in his court before," Katta said. "He made a statement afterward declaring me not guilty."

Katta said his case was likely helped significantly by the fact that when the officer who pulled him over was questioned in court, he was unable to recall when the last time was he had been trained with his radar gun, or when it was last calibrated.

Katta came away from the incident without having to pay a fine, or without any points accumulating on his driving record.

Written and reported by Will Frampton,

Follow Will on Twitter.


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