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N/A | National Speed Camera Operator Sacked For Speeding

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' at netrider.net.au started by robsalvv, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/34/3491.asp

    Australia: Speed Camera Driver Busted for SpeedingMan in Australian speed camera van busted for driving at double the speed limit.
    A government labor relations board in Australia yesterday upheld the firing of an employee busted for driving a speed camera van at more than double the speed limit. Stuart Rollo appealed to Fair Work Australia after he was terminated by Serco Traffic Camera Services in Victoria on December 10 for driving 102km/h (63 MPH) 50km/h (31 MPH) zone. On Thursday Commissioner G.R. Smith determined the firing was warranted by the circumstances.

    The government of Victoria granted Serco the right to issue automated speeding tickets. The firm hired Rollo to drive the photo enforcement vehicle to a given location and turn on the equipment. Each speed camera van was equipped with a GPS tracking device that allowed remote monitoring of the vehicle's location and speed.

    On October 22 a Victoria Police unit photographed Rollo driving a speed van at 87 km/h (54 MPH) in an 80 km/h zone (50 MPH) and the citation was mailed to Serco. This prompted company officials to examine Rollo's driving history, as recorded by the GPS device. This audit uncovered that Rollo in September had been driving up to 113 km/h (70 MPH) in a 100 km/h (62 MPH) zone -- well within the tolerance for which an ordinary Australian motorist would receive a ticket. It also confirmed his blast at more than twice the legal limit on October 22.

    Although speed camera firms have argued in court that GPS data is unreliable when used by a motorist to defend against a speeding ticket, in this case Serco asked Ben Ditford, the major projects and account manager for Mobile Tracking and Data Pty Ltd to testify that the GPS tracking unit produced information far more accurate than a speedometer.

    "I accept the evidence of Mr Ditford and I find the GPS equipment on the Serco vehicles is reliable," Smith wrote in his decision. "In any event, to the extent that errors may exist, I find, on Mr Ditford's evidence, that it is unlikely that any error could lead to the equipment not being able to discern the difference between 50 km/h and 102 km/h."

    Rollo argued that he was never told that his speed would be monitored by GPS and that the device was only meant to verify that vehicles were properly positioned throughout the day. Rollo also argued that he had been speeding because he had a medical condition and needed to go to the bathroom. Smith rejected the argument because Rollo had never raised the subject with his employer and he only mentioned this once the case reached the cross-examination stage. Smith questioned the man's honesty.

    "Mr Rollo has not accepted that he knew he was speeding," Smith wrote. "However this does not sit comfortably with the evidence of Mr Fryer who said that Mr Rollo admitted to him that he may have set off a speed camera on the night in question. This evidence was consistent with the GPS data which showed there was a sudden drop in speed immediately after the speed camera detected him exceeding the speed limit. I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Mr Rollo was not unaware of the fact that he was traveling at a speed which was above the speed limit."

    Smith concluded that this amounted to serious misconduct and Rollo's summary dismissal was warranted. A copy of the decision is available in a 150k PDF file at the source link below.
    Source: [​IMG] Rollo v. Serco Traffic Camera (Fair Work Australia, 5/26/2011)

    = = = = = = = = =

    I love the hypcrisy about GPS! But what about the integrity of the operator - he's paid to enforce speed limits and ignores them himself... what other requirements are ignored? I wonder how many infringements would go by the way side if you could investigate fully whether all procedural aspects were completely complied with in all cases.


  2. Oh the irony!
    And on multiple levels too.
  3. Delicious. Fortifying, as well.
  4. Sucks to be him
  5. Lovely.
  6. Does this mean that they've now set their own precedent that GPS is verifiable and admissible evidence? :sneaky:
  7. I was speeding because I have a medical condition and needed to go to the toilet :arghh:

    There was no service station nearby, or a tree??!!! :D
  8. I was wondering about that too. Although a GPS reading is more likely underreport your speed (e.g. if you are going around a corner) - so if the GPS says you're speeding, you almost certainly are, but if the GPS says you're not speeding, you still might be.
  9. I think the GPS monitoring system that they refer to is of a higher standard then at of the GPS navigation system that we use on the dash or mobile.
    The finding also says
    50 K is hard to argue
  10. Crucify him! Crucify him!

    I never thought the "medical condition and needed to go to the toilet" would work anyway, but I was tempted to try it. Now I know.
  11. Doubt it. Well, maybe better than some mobiles, but unlikely to be better than your typical Garmin or TomTom GPS.

    The other thing that occurs to me is, since they're a private firm, the standard of evidence to prove that he's been speeding is different. The article didn't say that he'd been fined or lost his licence for doing 102 in a 50 zone, just that he'd lost his job. So I'm not sure if that would count as precedent for fighting a speeding fine with GPS data.
  12. Quite unlikely. The sampling rate is the crux, not the accuracy per se of the unit. For defence against a speeding fine the tracking may show a 'spot' speed which is actually an average over anything from 10 to 150 metres shown at the end of that sampling distance. The smaller the distance the more accurate the speed shown, but we all know how responsive bikes can be to a twitch of the throttle and a variation of 20kph in 120 metres isn't unlikely.
    If the van was shown at 102kph over a number of samples then that would be relied upon to justify the decision, along with the lack of instant response that a van is likely to have to vary its speed within the distance being sampled.
    But it does set a precedence which may lead to egg on face in the future ;)
  13. The case was brought about simply to determine whether or not termination of employment was justified. Nothing else.

    Link: Rollo v Serco Traffic Camera Pty Ltd.

    As for GPS being accepted in Court, that happened half a decade ago.

    March 12, 2007

    LIGHTNING is not supposed to strike twice, but the Simotas family of West Pennant Hills have given traffic police a couple of jolts that will make them heroes of any motorist who has copped a doubtful speeding fine.

    In 2005 Jerry Simotas successfully challenged a $160 speeding fine, proving in court that the hand-held radar gun that was said to show he was travelling at 133 kmh in a rented Pulsar had never been properly calibrated, tested or maintained.

    Last week his son Michael, 25, went one better; overturning a speeding conviction and fine by downloading the information from his car's GPS unit to show that he was travelling at or below the speed limit and not at 85 kmh in a 60 kmh zone as alleged by two police officers, who admitted in court they had incorrectly used a hand-held radar unit.

    The experience has cost the family more than $27,000 in fees for lawyers and experts, but justice, they said, had been worth the money and created a legal precedent that their lawyers said could spark more regular challenges to technology that experts say is questionable and prone to inaccuracy.

    Jerry Simotas was driving from Melbourne in May 2004 when he was clocked by police on the Hume Highway at Jugiong, 40 kilometres north of Gundagai, allegedly doing 133 kmh in a 110 kmh zone.
    He challenged the fine in court, questioning how rigorously police recalibrated their radar guns for accuracy each year and presenting documents in court, which showed police certified the US-made Kustom Silver Eagle gun as accurate even though half of the possible 18 tests - which cover issues such as temperature, vibration stability, noise and phone interference, and humidity - were never done.

    After three days in court, in which two experts in radar gun technology gave evidence, the police gave up. It cost Jerry Simotas $20,000 in legal fees.

    Michael Simotas was charged a few weeks after his father - his first speeding fine - while driving his Subaru WRX home just before midnight along Marsden Road in Carlingford. He was stopped and charged by two patrol officers driving in the opposite direction.

    The officers had clocked him with a hand-held radar allegedly doing 85 kmh in a 60 kmh zone, but conceded in court they had not taken the reading for the required length of time. Instead they relied on their own experience and visual estimate.

    The evidence Michael Simotas presented that was downloaded from his GPS unit showed that between Eastwood and Carlingford the car once briefly touched 61 kmh but was mostly at 57 kmh. An expert in GPS systems provided corroborative evidence in court.

    Despite this, the magistrate convicted him on the evidence of the visual estimate of the most senior officer and fined Mr Simotas $203. Last week the conviction and fine were overturned on appeal in the District Court after the police again backed down.

    Jerry Simotas said he was concerned about the police's use of radar equipment. "The message is that police have an obligation to use this equipment properly. Motorists have the right to expect that they prove it is accurate."

    Michael Simotas's lawyer, Dennis Miralis, went further. The first case in NSW where GPS has been admissible in evidence to contest the accuracy of police radar would not be the last, he said.

    "There is an enormous amount of conservatism in the legal fraternity about acceptance of new technology. Magistrates seem to prefer to accept whatever police say in defence of their own equipment, but there are growing doubts."

    • Like Like x 1
  14. Yikes!

    And add this to the former and no wonder some people think that true justice is unattainable for ordinary people.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Keep in mind it was a 3 day court case and included 2 x expert witness which you're looking at anywhere from $3-5k per day for each person.

  16. ^exactly. Justice should be settled by the sword. A bit like this,

    Nah but seriously money should never be preventative to acquiring justice (or having a crack at acquiring) in a democratic state. Imagine if the health system worked that way....no cash=no life saving surgery.
  17. #17 alexanderino, Nov 16, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
    Thank you for this. Someone I know quite well was photographed by a mobile speed camera on the Pacific Highway [100 km/h zone] last week. However, his video camera has a GPS unit, and it confirms he was doing between 99 and 100 km/h when he passed the car and the flash fired.

    It will be interesting to see if anything eventuates.
  18. Another one for good measure ;)


    • Like Like x 1
  19. I have been assured he is grateful for the links. Cheers, Justus.
  20. AustLII doesn't appear to have that case, so forgive me for asking what may seem a silly question, but would the Simontas have been awarded costs in this case?

    It really disturbs me to think that, out of the blue, someone could be up for that kind of money (even if they get it back) just to defend themselves against an unfounded allegation. But I'm sure that topic has been covered in full on Netrider before.

    And all this seems like a good reason to get a "black box" app for my phone now that I have a phone mount for my bike.