Ever wondered what to do when you have the unmistakable lights flashing behind you, and you slowly stop and think, “Crap! Another ticket!” Your mind tends to race over every possible scenario, and you try to come up with some excuse to see if you can get out of it. After thinking of many things, nothing helpful comes up. So you’re stuck with the standard, “What seems to be the problem officer?”
No matter what happens, your pretty much stuck with an unplanned amount of money you will have to give up. Most of us eventually pay the fine and move on with our lives; however, this was not the case with Dr. Dmitri Krioukov. Dr. Krioukov is a physicist with the University of California in San Diego and was pulled over by a police officer for not having stopped at a stop sign. After taking everything into account, Dr. Kroukov decided that he would fight the $400.00 ticket by using Math and Physics.
Dr. Krioukov showed in court that, not only was he innocent, but that what the officer had seen was not what he thought he saw. Using the differences between angular and linear motion, Dr. Kroukov argued that when the officer was watching the stop sign, he saw Dr. Kroukov’s car (which is a Toyota Yaris, one of the smallest cars aside from Smart Cars in the US market) from the side which gave him an illusion of how fast Dr. Kroukov was traveling before he made a stop. Dr. Krioukov claims that he did stop at the stop sign but the officer’s view at the time was blocked briefly by a passing car which looked similar to a Subaru Outback. When Dr. Kroukov’s car continued its course after the stop, to the officer it seemed as if the car had never stopped at all.
In a paper titled “The Proof of Innocence”, Dr. Krioukov explains, “We show that if a car stops at a stop sign, an observer, e.g., a police officer, located at a certain distance perpendicular to the car trajectory, must have an illusion that the car does not stop, if the following three conditions are satisfied: (1) the observer measures not the linear but angular speed of the car; (2) the car decelerates and subsequently accelerates relatively fast; and (3) there is a short-time obstruction of the observer’s view of the car by an external object, e.g., another car, at the moment when both cars are near the stop sign.”
So if you are thinking about sweet talking an officer, or making up silly excuses to validate the reason you broke the law in order to get out of a ticket…you may want to think about using physics and math instead.