Scientist Uses Physics to Escape a Traffic Fine

By Jamie Condliffe on at

When encountering a tricky problem, it always pays to play to your strengths. Like a scientist from the University of California who was issued with a $400 (£250) traffic ticket for failing to completely stop at a stop sign. His response? A four-page paper describing how the ticket defied the laws of physics.

Using his understanding of angular and linear motion, Dmirti Krioukov was able to argue to a judge that the police officer who issued the ticket only thought he saw the car failing to fully stop. Krioukov explained to NBC:

"[M]y argument in the court went as follows: that what he saw would be easily confused by the angle of speed of this hypothetical object that failed to stop at the stop sign. And therefore, what he saw did not properly reflect reality, which was completely different."

Uhuh. If that needs clearing up, his argument is based on relative velocities: to an observer—like the police officer—the car could appear to be moving at a certain velocity in a particular direction as a result of the observer's position and velocity.

But that's enough physics. You're probably thinking that you might be able to use this defense. Don't bother: Krioukov has warned that it took a freak combination of events for his argument to hold up, and that it's unlikely to work very often. Dammit. [NBC]

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