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Montana Highway Patrol breaks down technology behind radar

Trooper Brad Moore tracks cars while driving on I-90 using radar technology inside his patrol vehicle.

From not having a speed limit, to having one of the fastest in the country, Montana highways have seen it all.

Legislation passed in 2015 boosted the speed limit to 80 miles per hour on some stretches of the state’s interstate system. The fine for speeding is now double what it was in a 75 mile per hour zone.

Montana Highway Patrol trooper Brad Moore said a community’s growing population is putting more cars on the road, with more distractions than ever available to drivers. Moore told NBC Montana even with all the changes, enforcement stayed the same. He said he was initially hesitant to warm up to the idea of an increased speed limit.

“There’s an old saying out there that speed kills,” Moore said. “So me, personally, I was a little reserved at the idea of increasing speeds.”

Along with increasing speeds came improvements to radar technology inside patrol cars. Before, Moore said he could only track cars while he was parked. Now, he’s able to track more cars about one time while he drives.

Moore told NBC Montana there are several variables at play when it comes to pulling you over, including traffic volume and road conditions. On a ride-along with Moore, NBC Montana saw a car pass by at 89 miles per hour. Moore didn’t pull the car over, since he wasn’t comfortable turning around on a snow-covered median cross over.

“There’s a guy going 89 right there, that just went by,” Moore said. “He’d be a good guy to stop. I don’t get them all.”

NBC Montana asked Moore if the 80 mile per hour speed limit is too fast. Montana Highway Patrol said it doesn’t officially have a stance on the speed limit – but whatever it is, troopers like Moore will continue to enforce it.

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