What is Vascar: Visual Average Speed Computer

Before radar speed detectors became more affordable, most police forces would use VASCAR to measure the vehicles’ speed. There are still situations where VASCAR is used, albeit quite minimally.

On this page, we are going to talk a little about VASCAR. ( visual average speed computer). We want to answer the question concerning VASCAR. We also want to give some information on detecting VASCAR, how it is used, and some situations where it may use it.

What is VASCAR and How Does it Work?

So, what is VASCAR? Well, it is probably the most straightforward speed measurement device possible.

With a VASCAR system, there will be two lines painted on the road. These are known as VASCAR lines (we will talk more about those in a short while!)

When the target vehicle passes over one of the lines, the police officer starts a timer. When the driver drives over the second line, the timer is stopped.

By looking at the timer, the police officer can determine precisely how fast the vehicle was traveling.

There are other ways that VASCAR has been used, including police officers retracing the driving route of potential offenders. However, that method is less common. 

In most cases, it will go as follows:

  • A police officer carefully measures two lines on the road. The distance between them doesn’t matter too much.
  • The police officer hides nearby or on top of a bridge.
  • When a vehicle travels over the first line, the police officer will start the timer.
  • When the vehicle travels over the second line, the timer is stopped.
  • All data is fed into a computer.
  • The police know the exact speed at which the driver was traveling.

It is really is a simple system, although it certainly isn’t without its issues. For example, all of the lines have to be carefully measured out beforehand. It is also challenging to measure multiple vehicles at once. 

This means that many vehicles that travel through a VASCAR system will go unchecked. Of course, the biggest downside is the fact that VASCAR relies on the police officer to be accurate. 

It requires there to be a clear vision on the road. If there are any issues with visibility or the police officer has not been appropriately trained, anything that happens with the VASCAR system becomes incredibly unreliable. 

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Visual Average Speed Computer
Visual Average Speed Computer

Is Vascar Still Used?

Yes. Although, it is becoming increasingly less common.

You may not realize this, but there are actually some places in the US where both LIDAR and radar are illegal. This means that the police need to use slightly more traditional methods to measure the speed at which a driver is traveling. Of course, VASCAR is the best of these methods.

The police are not huge fans of the use of radar detectors. After all, detectors allow people to speed as much as they like. They need to avoid being caught in speed traps.

At least for police officers, the significant benefit is that VASCAR is undetectable. Obviously, there can be lines on the road. However, people aren’t really going to be able to spot them. They are traveling too fast (even within the speed limit). 

As a result, some police forces still use VASCAR in a bid to keep people on their toes.

In some cases, police forces don’t have the budget they need to buy a ton of speed radars, so they use the more traditional methods of recording people. Although, admittedly, this is something that is becoming less and less common. After all, speed radars are not really all that expensive. 

What are Vascar Lines?

VASCAR lines are called ‘lines,’ but they do not necessarily need precise lines. Most of them are not. They would be easy to detect. Well, not easy, but eagle-eyed drivers may be able to suspect something is up.

A VASCAR line will be a small marker placed off the road in most cases. They may be visible to the police officers carrying out the VASCAR, but that is just about it. 

As we said before, VASCAR is all about having a bit of distance between two sets of VASCAR lines. However, somewhat interestingly, it doesn’t matter what the distance is. 

What matters is that the recording police officer knows what the distance is. This information can be fed into the VASCAR calculator.

The distance must be recorded accurately, though. In most cases, the police officers will use a tape measure to measure the distance between two points. However, some police forces will use odometers inside their vehicles to measure the distance.

What is Vascar Plus?

VASCAR Plus is just standard VASCAR, albeit with some upgrades.

In the past, VASCAR was a mechanical computer. It took a lot of setting up, but it gave accurate speed readouts.

VASCAR Plus is the digital version of this system. This means that everything is calculated automatically as a vehicle passes. All the computer needs to know is the distance between two points. The stopwatch will even be built into the VASCAR Plus system. This allows almost instant readouts.

VASCAR Plus was developed by a company called Traffic Safety Systtems Inc. However, they have since gone out of business. It is not currently known who owns the rights to VASCAR Plus. However, a company like this going out of business does show that fewer and fewer police forces are becoming interested in VASCAR.

Can Radar Detectors Detect VASCAR
Can Radar Detectors Detect VASCAR?

Vascar Calculator and the Vehicle’s Speed Limit

The great thing about VASCAR is that it is a straightforward average speed calculation. It probably isn’t one that you will want to be doing manually. However, it is an easy calculation. It is the sort of calculation that you would learn at school.

The whole purpose of the VASCAR calculator is to work out the speed automatically as a car passes. To calculate the speed at which a vehicle is traveling, the VASCAR system needs two pieces of information:

  • The distance between the two measurement points. 
  • The time at which it takes the vehicle to travel between the two VASCAR lines.

As we said before, it doesn’t matter how large the distance is between the two points. However, most police forces will have them a reasonable distance apart. 

If the VASCAR lines are too close, then there is a good chance that the police officer won’t be quick enough on the timer.

The distance between the two lines is then divided by the time it takes to travel between them. This will then give the average speed for the driver. 

As we said, it is a straightforward system.

Once the police know what average speed a vehicle is traveling at, they will decide whether they need to pursue the driver to issue them with a ticket. This will all be based upon the speed limit of the area.

Do bear in mind that VASCAR, when appropriately used, can be incredibly accurate. VASCAR-Plus was determined to be accurate to within 2mph. 

This means that the only way you are ever going to get caught by a VASCAR system is to stay below the limit. We can assure you that nobody gets caught by a properly used VASCAR system if driving below the speeding limit. 

V-Spec Speed Timing Device

V-Spec is the primary system used on the road nowadays.

V-Spec is still a VASCAR system, i.e., and it measures the speed at which a driver is traveling between two points. V-Spec is just a brand name.

The main reason why many police forces use V-Spec is that they can use it in both stationary and moving modes. This means that law enforcement can use the V-Spec Speed Timing Device while a police officer is following a vehicle and wishes to know how fast they are going. 

Interestingly, you will also find that V-Spec is often used in police helicopters. It enables them to measure how fast vehicles below them are traveling quickly. 

Tracker Speed Timing Device

Tracker is another brand name for a VASCAR system. Once again, this is a product that can easily be used in stationary or moving mode. It is mounted onto the dashboard in a vehicle. Kustom Signals currently manufacture the product. 

The Tracker speed timing device is heavily used on the roads. This is because it allows custom distances to be stored. 

This is often useful to police officers that have multiple VASCAR set-ups. It is also great to know the distance between two objects while out there on the road. These distances can be stored for quick and easy measurements while in pursuit. 

Can Radar Detectors Detect VASCAR?

Nope. Because VASCAR is all about the use of sight, it cannot be detected by any radar detector. There is no signal for them to pick up on. This, of course, does mean that those that regularly go over the speeding limit could find themselves dealing with speeding tickets.

That being said, because of the inherent issues in VASCAR. Many speeding tickets that are issued due to this system are nullified. 

After all, the entire system relies on the issuing law enforcement officer having a perfect view of the vehicle. 

If they do not, then the system cannot possibly be accurate. As a result, the system is not often used in poor weather or at night.

How Can You Avoid a VASCAR System?

You can’t. The whole reason why police officers are still using VASCAR is down to the fact that it cannot be detected. Sure, there will be signs that indicate when certain areas are more likely to have a VASCAR law enforcement in them. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t find them being used outside of these zones. We wouldn’t be surprised if a good chunk of police vehicles had a VASCAR system that they could use.

The only way that you will be able to stop a speeding ticket is to ensure that you are not speeding in the first place. 

What Does VASCAR Patrolled Mean?

When you see a sign that says VASCAR patrolled, this indicates that there is a chance that there are police officers running VASCAR systems.

This does not mean that you won’t find VASCAR systems being used elsewhere. Well, unless you live in one of those areas where it is a legal requirement for police to tell people about speed checks. 

It just means that you are much more likely to find one of these speed checks in a VASCAR patrolled zone.

Remember, VASCAR is a system where the officer doesn’t need to be close to the road. It can be measured from a distance. 

As we said before, many law enforcement will record VASCAR while on bridges or hidden somewhere out of sight. Some places will even use police helicopters to patrol zones. 

However, admittedly, that is quite rare. It is unlikely that most police forces will have the budget to send a helicopter up into the air to monitor speeds. If they are used, it will often be during a police chase.


VASCAR is one of the oldest systems for measuring the speed of a target vehicle. It has been around since the 1950s. 

While it doesn’t get the same amount of use as in the past (because of LIDAR and radar), the fact that it is entirely undetectable means that some police forces are using it to catch people out, mainly those that use radar detectors. 

Since you can’t detect VASCAR, you must pay particular attention to your vehicle’s speed if you are in an area labeled as VASCAR patrolled. Although, do bear in mind that VASCAR could be just about anywhere.


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