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Speed camera's - Neil Mitchell gets it right

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by Mouth, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,18566373%5E5000106,00.html

    Put your foot down
    Neil Mitchell

    THIS sounds like a routine from a stand-up comic, but would you believe it?

    A man receives two speed camera tickets for the same car on the same day.

    One ticket is for High St, Malvern.

    The other is 23 minutes later on the Great Ocean Road at Lorne.

    Rocketman could not have managed it.

    Asafa Powell with a tail wind and a fair dinkum attitude would have had trouble.

    So the motorist investigates further.

    He discovers that at the time of the alleged offences his car was locked up on the ferry crossing from Sorrento to Queenscliff.

    Not only could he not have made the trip to get the fines, nobody was driving the car at the time.

    Would you believe it? I'm not sure I do, and evidence is yet to be produced.

    But there will be thousands of drivers who do believe it, and hundreds more who will be convinced their own speeding tickets are equally shonky and should never have been issued.

    Such is the credibility of speed cameras: they have none.

    But there is an answer. It is radical, it requires a degree of government determination, but it would be a significant improvement.

    This problem is not new. It began three years ago, when police insisted that a battered Datsun 120Y did something on the Western Ring Rd that was mechanically impossible: 158km/h.

    There were other complaints, and after months of stonewalling from police the error was finally admitted -- and $20 million was put aside to repay fines and compensate motorists who had lost their licences because the cameras were wrong.

    But the damage was done, because the police insisted, in the face of irrefutable evidence, that the cameras were accurate and formally rejected appeals from motorists wrongly booked.

    The credibility of the appeal system was gone.

    The same applied to Steve Bracks and his ministers, who continued to insist that a car that couldn't drive out of sight in a foggy paddock actually had the torque of Alan Moffat's old Mustang.

    The problems continued.

    A TRUCK was "booked" in the tunnel driving uphill at an impossible speed that would have frightened Mr Moffat.

    Cameras were found to have been set up wrongly on at least "six to eight" occasions, including a notorious example on the Hume Highway that created total confusion about speed zones, cameras and operators blinded by the sun.

    Now, there are new doubts.

    They are unproven, but that is not the point.

    The new suspicion shows the public considers the cameras about as trustworthy as Alexander Downer denying knowledge of Iraqi kickbacks.

    There has been the report of the ferry-bound car booked in Malvern and Lorne, and the accountant whose boss was booked at cameras two minutes apart -- something that seems physically impossible.

    But most complaints involve one of the new cameras on the Geelong road.

    Several people who had never been booked before received eight tickets in eight days from this camera, most in the same speed bracket of 108-112km/h.

    Their stories have a similar ring: we never speed, we have never before been booked, our cars tell us we are on the limit, but the camera has booked us at 108-112.

    Coincidence? Possibly. Poor driver concentration? Maybe. Dodgy speed camera? Perhaps. The police say the camera has been checked and is accurate.

    In a change of attitude, they are now willing to reconsider tickets if a driver can prove their speedometer was wrong.

    That is sensible, but it does not help the broader problem because on this issue the credibility of the police, the Government and the speed camera operators is gone.

    If this newspaper opened the letters pages to complaints about dodgy speed camera tickets there would be hundreds of examples.

    That would make everybody feel better, but not solve anything.

    So here's an answer.

    Versions have been floated before, but it is time to address this seriously and in detail: Steve Bracks should set up an independent review panel -- let's call it (sarcastically) the Speed Camera Re-Assessment Panel, or SCRAP.

    The panel would be chaired by an independent person and include several scientifically qualified members who could test complaints.

    If motorists believed they had received inaccurate tickets they would be required to lodge a bond, perhaps $100, and the panel would then review whether there was sufficient doubt about the accuracy of the reading.

    SCRAP would have the authority to dismiss a ticket because there was reasonable doubt and refund the bond.

    If the panel rejected the appeal the driver could still fight it in court, but the bond would be forfeited.

    This is bureaucratic, true. But it would allow motorists to test their complaints before experts rather than have go to court before magistrates, who are not physicists.

    This is not a legal issue but a technical one.

    It would free the courts, which are too busy, remove those with a vested interest from reviewing the tickets, and give drivers a simple and quick appeal.

    THE SCRAP system would also protect the Government. Under this regime, the $20 million disaster on the Ring Road would have been identified and stopped earlier, saving much money and angst.

    More, the panel would help to restore confidence in the cameras because it would kill the conspiracy theories and make speeding drivers face the fact that they had a lead foot.

    But the most basic reason for SCRAP is this: the problem with the cameras is what the Government sees as their strength.

    They are a road safety tool but they are also gold-plated revenue-raisers, because the onus of proof is reversed.

    Any driver is presumed guilty until they prove otherwise.

    That is why the accuracy must be beyond question.

    It is only fair.

    NEIL MITCHELL broadcasts from 8.30am weekdays on 3AW
  2. Certainly made intereseting reading this morning.
  3. Wouldn't it be nice!
  4. I reckon if the camera is wrong and a fine is issued, the refund should be double plus costs. That would make sure the camera operators do check the cameras.

    If the car speedo is out by less than makers specy, the first one should be a warning only. That would alert the driver to have it checked and fixed.

    The other option is for everyone to say they will definitely not speed for a week. Watch what happens to the camera operators as they go broke.
  5. What if the vast majority of people really aren't speeding where those fixed cameras are located?

    I mean, they're fixed. Everyone knows that they're there...

    What if the only reason why these camera operators are doing so well is because of bodgy equipment which they keep on claiming is correct even when 90% of the time they're ticketing totally innocent motorists, and get away with it 'cos there's no room for appeal or recourse?

    Given that there's enough evidence to show that they're bodgy, just how large is the problem? Is the problem of speeding motorists in as great as numbers as the cameras are catching a reality? How far is it over-stated? Who really knows?
  6. As Mitchell said, the onus is on you to prove your innocence when you get a ticket that you suspect is dodgy.

    I was riding through a town, 60 km/h limit. I spotted the camera (one of the standalone blue types with a spotlight mounted on top). I glanced at the speedo. 68 km/h.


    I tapped the brakes to come under 60 km/h. Too late! She cried.

    Anyway, imagine my surprise when I got the ticket. It was for 70 km/h which includes the 3 km/h deducted for legislative tolerance. So, the camera thinks that I was doing 73 km/h.

    That's 5 km/h higher than what my instruments were indicating.

    The diff between 68(65 km/h) and 73(70) km/h is about $100 and 2 demerit points.

    I suppose I could have challenged it. However, a few factors were against me:
    (a) I was on a bike and those who shall be obeyed may think that I'm a hoon, anyway.
    (b) I have priors for speeding as do the majority of motorists.
    (c) my speedo isn't a legislated scientific instrument and hence not deemed infallible and
    (d) I cannot produce any verifiable data that the court would accept to back up my claim.

    I have a Sigma Sport cycle computer which I calibrated using a Garmin Etrex GPS. At the time I had both the GPS and the Sigma Sport on. It was the Sigma that I glanced at.

    When I got the fine, I downloaded the track data from the GPS and examined it. For the sector going through the town, the max speed that it indicated was 68 km/h and at around the same time as the fine issue time/date indicated. Remember, GPS data is usually taken every X number of secs or distance. So, to have the exact time recorded is probably impossible to detect.

    Anyway, I resigned myself to the fact that if I did challenge it, I wouldn't win and would be up for more costs for having the temerity to challenge the "justice" system and to exercise my rights to a fair hearing, if such a thing exists when it comes to traffic matters.

    We've seen the public fiasco that surrounds the Police, Government and Traffic Camera Office when it comes to denying that there are problems. So, a mere mortal such as myself would've had Buckley's in getting a fair hearing.

    The police will continue to trot out the speed kills mantra. It has a vested interest as it's one of its core businesses (called "justifying your existance" and emphasising your importance or indispensability). The government will do so too. It's a valuable and much needed source of revenue, given that this government can't manage money to save itself, and it's an easy revenue stream. Much easier than sacking half the bludgers who work in the public service and making the government overall work harder and more efficiently to deliver financial efficiency for the taxpayer. Plus, politically, the government can claim to be "seen to be doing something" about the so called carnage on the roads.

    The Geelong section of the Princes Highway is a case in point. Up to 2003 it had numerous fatalities. When the new and improved Princes Hwy was opened in 2003 til the present, there hasn't been one fatality. [1]

    But, they installed speed cameras anyway. And now, the reports of them being dodgy are starting to roll in.

    [1] Source: VicRoads' Crash Stats statistical package found on its website.
  7. You listen to 3AW :eek: :LOL: :LOL:

  8. Niel Mitchell actually making sense... I never...

    Well, a thousand monkeys working for a thousand years...
  9. Dont you think it is wonderful that we live in a state where they use speed camera fines as part of the state budget but it not revenue raising b#$*s*&T that has to be all there for cause were they not supposed to be used in blackspot areas only, has the road toll dropped, no and it never will I think it is about time they stopped blaming speed and started looking at road conditions both on the surface and the s#*t hanging over the road(tree limbs,brocken signage etc) and started using some of the millions in revenue from the cameras to fix a few of these problems :mad:
  10. The Millers Rd fixed camera made it onto the 3AW Rumour File the other day.

    Apparently it's mounted directly under some very high voltage power lines which contravene the camera manufacturers specifications and "could" void all tickets issued as a result of that camera :LOL:
  11. In a couple of years' time we'll be hearing: "In the 5 years prior to the introduction of speed cameras there were [however many] fatalities on the Geelong section of the Princes Highway. Since then there hasn't been one fatality. Our strategy is working!". :roll:
  12. Like someone said before speed cameras could (possibly) burst into flames :LOL: That would make me smile. Bye Bye Gatso!

    Cameras only work because:

    a) Most motorists don't really remember their "exact" speed at the time. Sometimes the first you know about it is when the fine arrives.

    b) It's too time consuming / costly / difficult to fight the tickets.

    If everyone was able to challenge the tickets then they would have to be very sure that the ones they issue are right and the whole system would bog down.

    They rely on the lazyness of the average Australian.
  13. Hopefully, if people remember, they'll explain that the fatalities stopped happening AFTER the road was fixed up, not when the speed cameras were introduced.
  14. Mtj57 you had more evidence or at least as much as i did when i fought a camera fine it is because people wont bother about fighting them that they go on there merry way.If courts had to deal with all of the complaints the magistrates would be pissed of and the courts tied up then maybe they would take a good hard look at themselfs.In my case the police offered me a deal before it started in his words this guy hates speed camera fines so i will offer you no fine no costs just one point so as i dont set a presedent( boy i wish i had thast on tape) So i was in and out of there in 10 minutes :grin: Oh by the way i was speeding and the camera was out by 4 ks :grin:
  15. What is this 3AW you speak of?

    It must be on the AM dial or an Amateur Radio operator in Strathmore :p

  16. In the US many get out of these tickets due to a legal loophole. In the constitution it states "you have the right to confront you accuser", how can you confront a camera? You have to get a well versed lawyer but it happens all the time.

    Also, in cars at least, drivers keep the sun visor down so their face can not be seen in the front looking picture. Tickets are issued to the person driving, not the owner of the vehicle. So if the state can not prove you are driving, they can not issue you a ticket.

  17. It's already happened with the Western Ring Road :roll:

    The biggest cause of fatalities on the WRR was trucks avoiding cars and crossing the median and having a head on with some poor innocent vehicle going the other way :cry:

    They spent a small fortune putting in the Wire Rope Barriers (yes I know the WRB's are not bike friendly) and immediately the fatalities stopped :)

    Soon after the Fixed Safety Cameras were installed and after a few months they claimed the cameras had ended the carnage :shock:

    Mind you it didn't help when someone died in a prang a few days after the cameras were turn off due to the faults in them but at least no one publicly stood up and tried to claim the cameras would've made a difference :roll:

    Oh, by the way, there has been two fatal collisions on the Geelong Freeway since the upgrade. Both involved speeds Schumacher would've been proud of and one was rumoured to be a policemans son in a Vic Pol leased car (he was a nominated driver but apparently was a bit of a shock when they did the initial rego check on the wreck).