Victoria's Redflex speed camera 108kph rip off errors!
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  1. #1
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    Icon13 Victoria's Redflex speed camera 108kph rip off errors!

    Way back in 2009, I was doing the advance survey (timing, between venues etc) setting out a Renault car club run to Queenscliff. I had my good wife with me and she compiled and checked the timings and the whole run was done on cruise control to ensure that no one needed to breach any speed limits and there was adequate time for re-grouping and sight seeing en-route.

    The Renault Laguna has a digital readout on its cruise setting and it rigorously maintains the set speed. On the Highway we set the speed at 100 on the digital readout, as I knew that the actual speedo was over-reading by at least 3 kilometers. I'd given the speedo a cursory check to ensure it was at least within that safety margin after fitting new tyres some three months or more prior, so we knew this was a reasonable be-safe and below the speed limit margin for the run.

    Geelong Road is notorious for the number of fixed speed cameras on that excellent and mostly four lane highway.

    My wife and I have a system of the driver reading off the digital reading and the passenger affirming that reading by sighting the digital readout (that system arose from years ago in questioning a slant camera reading in quite questionable circumstances - more on that later!!) suffice to say here we both affirm speeds on the cruise control settings especially on camera infested highways!

    After setting out the run, we went to a friends house at Geelong and later left for the return trip to Melbourne, we set the same return digital speed on the cruise control and confident that the most we would be doing would be 97 or less. Just after we passed under the Avalon overpass, we were rather amazed and amused that the "Advisory speed check sign" that indicated our speed at 98 - we commented to each other that this was the first time the advisory sign had been close to our intended speed setting as they are usually all over the place and for our car invariably show a 3 to 5 km speed below what we were doing. We have never modified our driving speeds to the signs and we know they are notoriously inaccurate.

    But for those that know me, they also know that this error causes me great concern for its propensity to encourage drivers, especially interstate strangers or visitors to our state to adjust speed accordingly and likely get fined for doing so. My Road Safety Council wrote to the Premier of the day Steve Bracks about providing more accurate speed checks to assist motorists at the time they were proposing to eliminate the discretionary tolerance that existed before the camera fine was applied. He refused to do so of course, it was up to motorists to ensure their speedo's were correct and the signs were later marked "advisory" due to the high ratio of motorist complaints.

    I do my best to stay within posted speed limits and have been happy with the Laguna's speedo's marginal error, to keep me free of any infringements - let others contribute, I certainly don't want to!

    Imagine my horror when 18 days later I got an infringement in the mail alleging that as I passed under the Avalon Bridge, my speed was checked and verified at 108 kph by the Redflex camera mounted on that bridge. It really rocked me even though I felt it was impossible given the checks I had made and the care I had taken to be well within the posted highway speed of 100 kmp.

    Had the cruise failed, had the cruise surged, or some other electronic gremlin upset its former reliability? We always do a progressive speedo log of the kilometers and time and dates of travel dating back to when were first got the car, so it is useful to go back and check the times and dates when we had passed other known speed camera locations. My concern of course is that with our heavy reliance on the cruise control to maintain steady speeds within limits, if it was not accurate, then how many fines were in the post - On Geelong Road on the same setting we had passed at least five other camera locations on that side of the road and the same on the other on the way down.

    On the actual day of the run later that month, though my initial checks hadn't thrown up any logical reason to doubt the speedo. Just in case I set it four km lower (two clicks on the cruise) on the digital setting. Well I was the classic slow driver that held up all the traffic, even the tanker trucks shot past me both ways along with all other traffic, including government cars!! The advisory sign this time showed 92 kph!

    I wrote a letter to the Traffic Camera Office advising them of the car being on cruise control and asked if they would please check the other cameras and also against the time and distance alternative measurement standard, that Mr Holding had publically declared would be checked and confirmed BEFORE any infringements were issued to motorists. I also advised times and dates that I had also passed speed cameras on the Craigieburn bypass for speed and time/distance checks to confirm the accuracy of the cruise control.

    I felt sure that if those checks were carried out the other nine or more camera's would confirm the cruise control reading or if it was my speedo at fault the redflex camera reading. Mr Holdings declaration that the public could have confidence in the Geelong Road Speed camera due to the multiple checking equipment, was given on the ABC almost 12 months before when serious questions had been raised as to the accuracy of some of the cameras. So I was pretty confident that any cursory check of camera records and speed measuring equipment would confirm my account.

    I was aware that the method of alternative measurement was by both optical and triggering electronic loops set into the roadway, this optical device was similar in concept to the equipment used to check the notorious ring road camera. I was confident that the double checking system as mentioned by Mr Holding was in place as a former colleague had mentioned to me that literally hundreds and hundreds of Redflex speed camera prosecutions had been abandoned when the radar reading was not confirmed by the optical measuring device.

    Imagine my surprise when I got a form letter back from the Traffic Camera Office (TCO) advising that they considered their cameras to be operating correctly, so either pay the fine or go to court, and by the way you have no further right to any appeal process - i.e. by an administrative stroke of the pen removing any right to make any further approaches to dispute the matter. No word about any checks or even if they had looked at the camera records in their possession.

    Then started the long grueling process of courts, with numerous trips to Geelong waiting for the matter to be listed for a "contested hearing" I defended myself as I know that otherwise as the matter drags through court adjournments, you keep adding defence counsel costs which mount up to far more than the initial speed fine, leading many to abandon their case and pay whatever the court then proposes under a "guilty with an explanation" plea. My reasoning for sticking it out was that I wasn't guilty so how could I plea guilty!!

    It was explained to me by the courts that the full onus of proving the camera was not operating correctly was on me, even though I had no access the vital records that could prove me innocent!! The court HAD to take judicial notice of the certificates that in law prima facie proved that the camera was operating correctly - reversed onus of proof.

    The trouble for me was that the alleged speed photograph supplied was simply an after dark black Square with a barely visible reflection of the front number plate of the vehicle, and the two headlights of the car, there were no reference points, or any way of discerning if there was any object or anomaly that could be responsible for the false reading of 108

    At one of the listed hearing I served a notice requesting the Police to supply further and better particulars of the offence as the all black official photograph showed nothing and there was not even a second photograph to gauge distance travelled between photographs. I had been administratively denied natural justice so prevented from making another approach to the authorities to obtain details of the second measuring device that Mr Holding had assured motorists would be checked prior to an infringement being issued. This vital information that could prove my innocence was in the hands of the prosecuting authority and if available should be supplied. I asked that the court compel the production of the time and distance checking done to verify prosecution.

    This caused quite a flurry as the Prosecutors had certainly heard that Mr Holding has given this guarantee, but from their enquiries there was either no such equipment or if there was it was not operating and therefore not available, there was some conjecture if the facility was or was not available or had been turned off. Not only that, it seems that the police do not hold any records, these are all in the possession of the Justice Department. so that meant dealing with another layer of bureaocracy and subpoenas would have to be issued. I supplied a long list of information that I considered should be available and in the hands of that third party. Information vital to my defence.

    I was surprised that Mr Holding's much vaunted confidence in the camera booster was not available for this site. Frankly I smelt a RAT!! I was told that another motorists by the name of F..... had issued subpoenas for release and this was currently being contested at Geelong Court, he was represented by a Barrister and the Justice Department had also hired a Barrister to oppose the release of any documents. I was advised that before issuing a subpoena on the Justice Departments it would be wise to see the arguments unfold at that case and only go for documents that were either agreed for release or court ordered. I should also get my cruise control checked by Renault or some other body.

    By this time I had done a stop watch check of my car while at cruise control set on the digital setting of 100, this stop watch check is done between the numbered kilometer posts erected on the side of most highways. At 100 kilometer its takes 36 seconds to travel one kilometer. My check consistently showed 38 seconds at 100.

    There is a simple conversion site on the internet where you can feed in the time and the speed and it gives you the corrected speed. For mine it was just over 94 kph.

    I photographed a re-creation of the drive that night under cruise control with myself in the passenger position and my wife driving the Laguna, the photographs show that the digital readout is clearly visible to the passenger to check the speed reading given by the driver. By now I was very confident of the veracity of the speedo, so the re-creation was done at 100 digital under all the cameras Melbourne bound, the digital camera gave accurate timings for distance traveled between camera sites, that I also logged on our running sheet for the test.

    The camera shots show the consistent needle position steady on 100, and the digital reading confirming 100 on that readout. I also took pictures of all the vehicles that overtook mine. Unfortunately the "Advisory Speed check sign" was not working on the day I did the test and hasn't been seen to work on the times I have since traveled back from Geelong. (I note the Hume Highway Advisory sign has been out of action for months with black plastic covering the speed check sign - hardly fair to motorists, but then they are notoriously inaccurate!!)

    I printed out this colour series in triplicate for presentation at any subsequent court hearing (Magistrate, Prosecutor, Defence), I also made a careful examination of the Avalon Bridge on which the speed camera array is mounted. While I was doing this I photographed a number of heavy articulated trucks conveying quarried material crossing the bridge.

    The bridge is of pre stressed concrete construction with a single pylon supporting it erected in the central plantation. this is a long span over the multiple laned highway, while I was there I noted that the continual pounding of the truck wheels had caused the surface of the road to drop away from the concrete of the bridge 100mm or more, and signs that it had previously been built up, but pounded down from the heavy traffic, (Geelong side) the Melbourne side had a steel toothed style plate, probably to prevent similar movement, though it seems to indicate twisting of the structure. there is also a red arrow survey mark on the side of the central Pylon that could indicate authorities are checking the movement of this pylon.

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    I took photographs of the approach from Geelong in the direction I would have been traveling on the night, there are wiring loops on the roadway and all connected to a central point, and there does appear to be provision for an optical measuring device on the central plantation in a small concrete bunker. I wonder if it was deliberately turned off because it disagreed with the radar readings.

    On the matter of radar, I am aware of limitations and interference that can be caused to radar reading where they are totally relied upon. Avalon airport is close by, and radar reflections can emanate from aircraft depending upon atmospheric conditions among other things. There is also a small pole mounted transformer on the side of the road adjacent to the attenuated road loops. Transformers are a known source of stray Electro Magnetic Interference. On the Melbourne side of the road bridge there is a large radio antennae mounted on a building. I also noted that Telstra have a large communications tower located on the Melbourne Geelong side of the highway on the Melbourne side of the bridge, its next counterpart is located nearer Geelong, but on the opposite side of the highway and there is a direct line of sight diagonal path immediately over the Avalon Bridge camera site.

    At the corner of the Avalon airport site not far from the bridge on the Geelong side there is a large pole mounted antennae array, though I could not pick if it was UHF or some other frequency from its construction, so plenty of potential for stray radio and other frequency interference.

    While I could potentially suggest these factors might introduce errors, I doubt if I could prove anything for court purposes unless an expensive interference survey was carried out - that should have been done anyway as these are known problems that should have been investigated. It was possible that I could access those procedures under subpoena, but a long involved process. The F..... case was being continually adjourned so costing the client heaps in barristers fees.

    My other problem was to better show the actual road speed under cruise control rather than just simply get a speedometer accuracy test - Howard instruments in Heidelberg West. I already had the stop watch tests but road speed would require a dynamometer test on an ISO standard test.

    I rang through to Melbourne University who I knew had been doing some industry checks and they referred me to the Ford Testing Facility at Geelong but warned me it would be "expensive" (This is where wives start saying you should have just paid the fine and saved all the emotion and expense) and yes I guess that at times in this saga I have been sorely tempted, but my sense of right and justice, goes against such capitulation to save money..!!

    I finally got the car in for testing and handed the car over to Martin Thurkettle, a wonderful man a fine example of the efficiency and courtesy of the Ford staff at that facility. I explained that for court purposes I needed to have not only the certified test, but something to show the actual digital and speedo reading at 100.

    Later I received a photo capable of proving that from their instruments. Their courtesy and professional attitude and attention to the test was outstanding and showed that indeed that at 100 digital setting the road speed was just over 94 kph. I'll try and later show the photo taken during the test to show exact speed. What is does confirm is that the many stopwatch checks I made and the internet conversion was also accurate, and should have been accurate enough for court purposes to refute the alleged reading.

    I went to Geelong Court still hoping to get the result of the other case, but again it was adjourned and I was heartily sick of the whole thing so decided to have the matter heard then and there. I elected to defend myself and give evidence on oath, and had my wife ready to confirm on oath the observed digital reading on the day. After I gave my evidence and was cross examined by the prosecutor who explored with me the possibility that I might have sped up or the cruise may not have performed correctly, and I produced my photographs and the ISO certified test result from Ford.

    At the conclusion to my testimony, the magistrate asked if the prosecutor wanted to cross examine my wife on my evidence, the prosecutor did not, and the magistrate announced that he was satisfied with the evidence produced and did not accept the prima facie contention the camera reading was a true indication of my speed on that night.

    I asked for and was awarded costs against the prosecution to defray my expenditure to prove my innocence and the magistrate agreed to award $1600 costs against the Chief Commissioner of Police. This was something I would never have envisaged in the past, as in my day we would have as a matter of procedure checked and cross checked that equipment was working and undertaken any checks asked to verify, rather than trying to bluster through and either convict the innocent or make it so hard with the stress of the process that the ordinary and law abiding motorist simply gives in and pays the fine and puts it down to experience. That is not a Justice system, its thuggery and certainly has nothing to do with Road Safety!!

    The prosecution asked for three months to pay the costs, but the magistrate refused that request as his reasoning was why should I be out of pocket a moment longer! Well after time passed, I enquired and found the Police paid just three months after but to the Justice Department. I tried to chase up the Justice Department but they took weeks more to pay the cheque. All in all, this whole exercise left a nasty taste in my mouth. Most of all was the realisation that IF the Traffic Camera Office had done as I asked and checked even the other camera readings, they would have found this error. But what about all the other motorists that were not in a position to remember what speed or the exact circumstances of their driving and so paid up regardless. HOW MANY OTHER JUST PAID!!
    And who would do at least the minimum to ensure that motorists are not ripped off by faulty camera, and in that I am mindful of many other motorists who have complained about 108 kph readings from bridge mounted camera's on Eastlink while they were on cruise control and the completely unethical response of the TCO police spokesperson who appeared on Television stating he was confident their cameras were accurate, so those complaining had only two options, pay up or go to court.

    Well I have been through that long stressful journey, its not something that I would automatically tell others to do. I have always believed in Justice, and that truth will be found by the system. Unfortunately the way the speed camera system is biased and protected, it is a brave Magistrate that will go out on a limb and go against that Government protected REVENUE system.

    For that reason I wrote to the Victorian Ombudsman and made a complaint. At the moment that complaint is unresolved as shortly after I returned from Tasmania I received a call indicating that I should write to the head of the TCO and they would review the matter, have a look at it again. Now that infuriates me when the investigator will not investigate the Redflex Camera system, You have to ask why not - is the Ombudsman too worried at the consequences, after all it reaps 800 or 900 million dollars of revenue into the coffers of the Victorian State Government. Where is the doing your duty without fear and favour as I swore to do when I served the laws of the legislature on behalf of the Victorian Community - of the public and for the public.

    I am still not happy and on return from my recent overseas visit to the UK and Sweden I saw the chaos of the UK camera infestation, and the same questions as to accuracy and the same tripe served up about road safety, but there at least some cameras are being scrapped and the system reviewed as there is no proof of the much vaunted safety aspect, and in fact some to the contrary. Driving is not pleasant anymore and the idiots seem determined to flout the system, while the Mr and Mrs average motorist bear the cost. Then on reading the old newspapers I find that the Craigieburn Redflex time based camera system got out of synch - where is the audit system!!

    I do agree that the presence of cameras, do encourage the law abiding among us to slow to more orderly speeds and that is as far as it goes, the non law abiding love the absence of uniformed police on our roads and take advantage as smarties whenever they can - just drive our roads every day and see what is happening out there.

    Now my challenge to the politicians - if those cameras are so accurate as you seem to keep saying, then put visual readouts on them so that motorists can see at the time, then and there, the alleged reading, not 18 days to a month later - that is neither justice nor is proper law enforcement. A motorist should know at the time what he is alleged to have done - this in the circumstances is the best and continuous audit system as if the machines break down and give false readings a thousand motorists will alert you to the problem.

    Will post up the photographs progressively - Its a long post but worth it to dissipate the anger that I feel with a law enforcement and justice system that has lost its way - good to get it off the chest.

    Ken
    Last edited by Kenfuego; 15th November 2010 at 03:10 PM.

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    nice work Ken - glad you pushed on with it...

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    I've read through but once, I'll need several passes to absorb the whole lot of the detailed info.

    Thanks so much for passing the information and I admire your tenacity.

    What a pack of [email protected]

    I have a close friend who is retired elec eng Professor from Monash who spent nearly six months investigating the "speed camera" shemozzle about 4 years ago. He did a comprehensive report which was never presented nor even collected from Monash!

    If you need an expert witness he may be willing to help.

    The stories he tells about how the speed camera systems were configured and installed would make your blood boil.
    FWIW all overseas systems use the radar/ laser as a mean to flag an initial possible over speed offence. They always use secondary verification of distance /time by a totally redundant, separate system. Both system need to agree before an alarm is raised.

    The manufactures of the system were horrified when the discovered the radar system was being used on it own to convict people.
    Last edited by robmac; 15th November 2010 at 03:24 PM.
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    We need more people like you, Ken! Wonderful work!

    I would not have the skill and time to challenge. Many people would be in my position


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    I'm glad to see you got it all down on paper Ken, and that after a long battle, you succeeded to prove your innocence, and at the same time call into question yet again the reliability of the speed-checking devices.
    I must admit I was one person who said to Ken in the early days of this saga, just pay the fine and get on with life, so full marks for defending your rights in the way you have. Unfortunately, many ordinary people, maybe even the majority, would not have the time to do this, and the authorities know this so their response of "see you in court" is a very one-sided affair usually.

    Although I am criticised by my friends as being a "dont speed, dont feed the coffers" person, and that IMO the camera system is a legitimate and efficient way of "catching" speeding drivers, at the same time I believe the speed limits should match the road and be correct for the reasonable driver, there should be adequate speed limit warning signs (woeful in WA), there should be a reasonable margin for drivers adjusting to conditions of the day (not speedo errors), and that the measuring systems should be backed up by publicly available maintenance and calibration records.

    When cameras are used as a form of entrapment, then we are crossing the line from safety to revenue raising, and any efforts to stop this happening, as in Ken's case, are worthwhile.

    By the way, the speedos on my last 3 Fords have been nicely accurate (reading 1 - 3 kms high at 100 km/hr - unlike the Renault at 8 km/hr high), maybe this is partly due to the excellent facility at Ford Australia, eh, Ken?

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    I read all of your article. I wouldn't have your patience. If I really felt that way, I would go to one of the TV stations that have a daily post news program (This Day Tonight, etc) and get them to follow it through.

    Seriously, this speed camera thing is getting beyond a joke. If you want to keep it as a joke, "borrow" a set of number plates from a vehicle in a state OTHER than yours. Apart from free tolls on tollroads, you can enjoy your driving without having to stare at the speedo and keep your fingers crossed.

    The authorities frown upon this behaviour (which to me is inherited from our convict past), and have introduced vehicle number plate scanning equipment. This checks number plates against a hit list of stolen or unregistered cars for that state. The speed cameras will post the fine to the listed owner of that number plate, which won't be you.

    Naturally, if you are pulled over by a real, live policeman, you may have some explaining to do, but it seems the authorities with their insatiable greed for our money are going down the route of more automated speed cameras and less highway patrol cars.

    If you don't wish to run that risk, just apply some car polish to the number plates. Make sure you don't polish it all off. Leave some of the bits with the white streaks of polish partially obscuring some of the letters/numbers such that some ambiguity arises. The people that process the results of cameras don't achieve 100% recognition of number plates. It doesn't matter. If they need more money, just plant more speed cameras. The nice thing about the polish trick is that you can reasonable argue your way out of it if you are pulled over by a real policeman. At worst you may get a fine for obscuring the number plate if you can't talk your way out of it. After all, you were polishing the car and your wife called you in to take an urgent phone call, and you subsequently forgot to finish the job. Impress on the policeman that you intend to fight this in court (ie they have to attend and give evidence).

    In the old days when the communists ruled Russia, I travelled with US dollars to change on the black market. I never hid them in my underwear or shoes or obvious hiding places. Just stuck them in my jean pockets under my handkerchief two or three days before and put it out of my mind. Never got caught because of a blank face (I had forgotten about the money) and I felt confident because it could easily have been a "mistake", certainly not deliberate.

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    As much as I love to bag the yanks, their lack of speed cameras and relatively relaxed attitude to driving does make it a less stressful place to drive. I think someone said speed cameras there were considered "unconstitutional" or something.

    Mind you, that same "protect personal liberties" thing extends to carrying guns around, so I suspect there could be a happy medium yet to be found!

    Anyway, good work Ken

    That reminds me, must pay my speeding fine from Florida...
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    Hi Ken, well done, you should send a copy of your letter to Ted Baillieu you never know it could change the way the system works, how's this. Whilst traveling on the F/W not in a motor car or motor cycle, exceeded a speed not within a safe speed, impeeding the traffic flow, and not displaying a rego compliance in the manner intended, got off tossed out of court, but got find 15 pounds for calling a cop a dickhead, outside court was threatened by the cop in no uncertain terms, and that was on my 160cc Vespa. Tony

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    Congratulations Ken, given Brumby's reliance on "safety camera " revenue , i certainly won't be voting for him at the election on the 27th Nov , would love to have Ted Baillieu to be aware of your case & hear his comments , as previously mentioned by another blogger , it wouldn't do any harm to offer this case to one of the television stations either , eg A Current Affair or Today Tonight....this rip-off must not be allowed to continue !

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    Onya, Ken,

    Your effort is admirable - a pity others would not make the effort and highlight the hypocrisy of the 'safety' argument.

    Regards,

    Fento

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    Brilliant perseverance (and post) on behalf of all safe road users. I suggest that with all your evidence a call to TV stations with your evidence might have sped things up ! Who knows!
    I have travelled this road a lot and always set my Passat's cruise control at !03 and it ostensibly is reading at 99. I have tested it against Advisory speed signs on the Hume and Geelong highways. It shocks me to say they are not accurate. Are GPS 's accurate as I notice they determine your speed as well and seem to concur?

    If advisory speed signs are so inaccurate then they should be banned and regarded as misleading and mischievous, leading to easy prosecution. More publicity need on this issue as most speedos read inaccurately.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego View Post
    Way back in 2009, I was doing the advance survey...
    I heartily applaud your efforts. If more people were willing to stand up rather than be bullied by an unjust system then the only reason for speed cameras, i.e. revenue, would soon disappear straight into the public prosecuters budget and speed cameras would cease to be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haakon View Post
    As much as I love to bag the yanks, their lack of speed cameras and relatively relaxed attitude to driving does make it a less stressful place to drive. I think someone said speed cameras there were considered "unconstitutional" or something.
    Unfortunately guns are constitutional. Given a choice, I would rather be shot by a speed camera than a 45 Calibre pistol.

    John

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    Default It's actually your word against theirs.

    Why you have clearly proved that when 100kph indicated on your car is actually only 94kph, where was it you proved that at the time of the alleged offense you were doing an indicated 100? How admissible is spousal evidence?

    One would think to prove this convincingly you'd pass said faulty speed camera at an indicated 100kph (and verifiable 94) at the exact same time (taking light conditions into consideration) and in n=30+ passes you should get a statistically signifiant number of speeding fines (one would be enough) - hence leaving no doubt it's faulty.

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    Well done Ken, and keep pushing with it. I feel for you, i went for two years with council for a building permit, and in the end still built it prity much the same way, when they said i couldn't.
    But even give the radio stations a go, 3aw helped me. When my daughter was born with a genetic disorder and the Childrens Hospital stuffed us around with her major surgery, 3aw didn't even get me on air, just them inquireing about a topic can get the ball rolling.

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    Nice one Ken!

    Sorry that your faith in the principle of justice has been tested by the practise.

    And as for all those unfortunates who had no effective way to contest the erroneous fines? I guess it's just unavoidable collateral damage in the effort to save lives.
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    Icon2 Thanks for the replies, I'm looking at ways to resolve issues for all motorists.

    Thanks all for your comments. Given my former occupation, I don't seek publicity to force changes, as i always try and use the proper avenues to get things done, if that fails then I start knocking on doors to arouse people that should be doing their job.

    It was my intention to hold off to allow the proper processes to wend their way and to supply copies of all the correspondence to whoever is our local state representative after the present elections and seek their assistance in ensuring that a proper investigation is raised to eliminate these errors and restore our Justice system, the other thing I intended was asking that my local parliamentarian monitor the police response to my complaint and that of the State Ombudsman.

    To me the Ombudsman should be free of political influence and able to freely and fully investigate such issues for any person who believes they have been wrongly dealt with by a State entity. My only guilty concern in trying to do this through official channels is that the process is so slow and it is obvious these faulty cameras are still operating with impunity.

    That the Police Department still tries to claim accuracy is tragic and denies the facts of the matter, though I do take some comfort in that the recent errors in the Craigieburn point to point cameras was apparently exposed due to a serving members representation through official channels ( or so it is claimed).

    XTC I fail to see any logic in your attempt to sidestep the evidence and corroboration in this matter, from what you seem to be saying it would be impossible for any person to mount a defence, as you are not notified at the time, or given any opportunity to counter the allegation at the time of the alleged detection - the whole thing comes through the mail later, so you couldn't then test your speedo there and then.

    Not only that if you did produce a certified test and wrote to the Police, they might decide to not to prosecute, but I am damn sure they would not refund the cost of the testing. Those orders for costs can only be made at court, unless you wanted to civilly sue for the monies (at your additional cost!!)

    The visual readout on the camera would be an improvement, giving the motorist the chance to check the alleged reading against their speedo, there and then (and modify their speed or contact the authorities if there appears to be an error against speedo, cruise control or GPS system) and an instant and public demonstration of the accuracy or lack of accuracy (audit control).

    IF they are so accurate as claimed, then there is nothing they (policing or Government) should be afraid of in providing this instant information for the motorists.


    As a former member of the police force I would much rather an increase of marked and unmarked police patrolling our roads as a matter of road safety than automated cameras.

    There are just too many external influences that can effect radar operations where other means of physical checking are not employed (ie. backed up by multiple pictures to depict speed and time or optical speed measuring etc) or applied in conjunction and agreement, before prosecution is approved.

    Regards.

    Ken.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego View Post
    XTC I fail to see any logic in your attempt to sidestep the evidence and corroboration in this matter, from what you seem to be saying it would be impossible for any person to mount a defence, as you are not notified at the time, or given any opportunity to counter the allegation at the time of the alleged detection - the whole thing comes through the mail later, so you couldn't then test your speedo there and then.

    Ken, I can see XTC's point entirely, and it is the reason I was feeling a little negative on the possibility of a positive result for you.
    You can prove your speedo/ cruise control are perfectly accurate, but at the time what proof is there that you (or any one else in a similar situation) were not doing, say, 120 km/hr, and that you are just trying it on with the legal system (as I am sure many others have tried). It is normally just the old case of your word against theirs, and the dice is loaded in "their" favour.
    No, I believe the fact that you were presenting a case based on reliable corroboration of another person in your vehicle, and that you were particularly noting your speed for the purpose of arriving at a suitable average speed, went a long way to satisfying the magistrate that, at that particular time, you were doing the speed you claim.
    I have often wondered what the validity of a "tachograph" recorder as used in trucks, would have in the court, where you have a calibrated record of speed and time of occurrence? Funnily, I cant recall hearing of this being used by trucking companies, but it seems a logical thing to do.

    Chris.
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    Ken, I wholeheartedly agree with an increase in police and a decrease in cameras. The cameras can only record speed at a particular place and then inform the owner of the car of the offence some 6 weeks later - useless. A policeman can distinguish dangerous driving, inattentive driving (still stopped and texting well after the lights have changed), driving under the influence, etc.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego View Post
    XTC I fail to see any logic in your attempt to sidestep the evidence and corroboration in this matter, from what you seem to be saying it would be impossible for any person to mount a defence, as you are not notified at the time, or given any opportunity to counter the allegation at the time of the alleged detection - the whole thing comes through the mail later, so you couldn't then test your speedo there and then.

    The visual readout on the camera would be an improvement, giving the motorist the chance to check the alleged reading against their speedo, there and then (and modify their speed or contact the authorities if there appears to be an error against speedo, cruise control or GPS system) and an instant and public demonstration of the accuracy or lack of accuracy (audit control).
    I know you actually get it, but would refute ..

    So the only things you've proved are:

    A). your cruise control is indicating 100 when it's really 94
    B). if you're willing to go to court with a corroborating witness and do a mountain of work (not proof - none of it is proof - as a retired police officer you know this ), that you may be given the benefit of the doubt if you put a credible case before the magistrate.

    You certainly did not prove any inaccuracy in the camera system ... none what-so-ever. You have raised "doubts", that for sure, but that's all.

    As for putting a "live at site" recorded speed on these things ... as I've said before you still haven't thought this thing through very well.

    On a multilane hwy you'd need to cover each lane (2-4 display signs) .. with cars moving at 100kph and a penchant for keeping way less than a 2sec gap, the sign would only display for less than 2 secs (under 1sec in many cases) before the next car is through ... is that enough time to read the sign - confirm it's you, read your speedo and corroborate the 2 readings .. all while driving @ 100kph in traffic???

    Time and time you've said people should not be "watching" their speedo ... it's dangerous. yet now you want them watching their speedo and the sign and comparing the 2 !!!

    Also what happens when you're changing lanes over the read points ... do you get no reading.

    Even if you did put a reading - YOU as the motorist still can't prove what you were doing at that precise moment of time ... your word v's theirs yet again.

    The easiest solution would be relax tolerances - but there is more chance of it snowing in Darwin (or you ever agreeing with me LOL) then that happening.

    - xTc -

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimOzSF View Post
    Nice one Ken!

    Sorry that your faith in the principle of justice has been tested by the practise.

    And as for all those unfortunates who had no effective way to contest the erroneous fines? I guess it's just unavoidable collateral damage in the effort to save lives.
    What? . Didn't you get that two systems ought to cross check the speed?

    JB

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fordman View Post
    Ken, I can see XTC's point entirely, and it is the reason I was feeling a little negative on the possibility of a positive result for you.
    You can prove your speedo/ cruise control are perfectly accurate, but at the time what proof is there that you (or any one else in a similar situation) were not doing, say, 120 km/hr, and that you are just trying it on with the legal system (as I am sure many others have tried). It is normally just the old case of your word against theirs, and the dice is loaded in "their" favour.
    No, I believe the fact that you were presenting a case based on reliable corroboration of another person in your vehicle, and that you were particularly noting your speed for the purpose of arriving at a suitable average speed, went a long way to satisfying the magistrate that, at that particular time, you were doing the speed you claim.
    I have often wondered what the validity of a "tachograph" recorder as used in trucks, would have in the court, where you have a calibrated record of speed and time of occurrence? Funnily, I cant recall hearing of this being used by trucking companies, but it seems a logical thing to do.

    Chris.
    Hi Chris

    As far as XTC is concerned everyone is cheating the system and it matters not if the cameras are faulty, you just pay and chalk it up to the times you were speeding which is the sort of spin that got us into the present mess that is the camera system in this state, yes the dice is "loaded in their favour" with the reversing of the onus and the after the fact notification of the alleged offence.

    A Justice system relies heavily on the integrity of the checks, balances and the basic principles of providing natural justice and protection and the ability to plead your case, though even that is reduced these days by administrative decrees.

    It all comes down to the integrity of the person, how they present themselves to the court as to what weight a magistrate will give to the evidence of both driver and corroborator and there are several tests that a magistrate can apply in that process. Is the defence implausible, reek of perjury, is it reasonable in the circumstances, lawful to convict or aquit, is there a reasonable doubt that justice has been served? (that is quite a minefield in law) and more importantly has the prosecution had ample time and the resources to rebut the simple evidence as presented.

    In my case I wrote a letter shortly after receiving the infringement and detailing the circumstances. Within that letter I asked that several avenues be checked by the prosecution, providing times and dates, and the prosecution obviously between that time and my final appearance at court had all the resources, the stored data to look at the credibility of my claims, or make that data available to me to prove or disprove what I was saying.

    I made it clear that I would have been happy for them to at least check the other camera records or time and distance records to accept or refute my claim of traveling at the same speed setting both ways on Geelong Road and even having the actual times specified to reduce their time in sorting through records.

    All of these things go to the credibility of the person and their account of the event, as the prosecution with its vast resources can investigate and rebut if they find any inconsistency in the accused persons evidence, and I for one would not risk either my reputation or that of my wife to commit perjury over a paltry fine or go through the stress of court appearances other than in principle that the alleged speed was grossly wrong.

    We drive the highways of Victoria day in day out and any cursory computer examination of any time based cameras would throw up our vehicle registration and provide a base for averaging our "normal" highway speed and if they wished they could examine my vehicle log that has trip dates and times plus departure and arrival times, I was also happy to provide my vehicle for any tests they might wish to make I really want an answer to how and why this gross speed error occurred!!

    That offer was not made lightly, as just as integrity rests on the individual policeman to report his observations correctly, it is equally important that testing and checking equipment is both regularly tested and randomly audited to ensure compliance, and on any occasion that the possibility exists that the equipment is not operating correctly or a legal error exists, you check and re-check to satisfy yourself and the public so that both accuracy and integrity is maintained.

    This was a normal part of our duty as a police officer, and a central part of police ethical behaviour, even down to the requirement that when one discovers a mistake is made, it should be reported and rectified. I am talking about the self imposed and published police codes of conduct and ethical operation.

    In this matter I am sure that the most cursory check would have raised alarm but these days no one seems to care - in my day one of the major slogans and campaigns was "WE CARE" it seems that where politics and money are concerned, ethical is the first casualty.

    XTC must be a poor driver if he can't take in a visual speed display, after all that is what the "Advisory signs" that presently give misleading readings to drivers do. I have no difficulty with observing those "Advisory signs" I just wish they were more accurate for drivers. The visual display on an actual live speed camera could provide a superior and more accurate advice to motorists in the same way the advisory signs are supposed to work.

    If a government is not prepared to do this small thing for motorist confidence, then really the only alternative is to scrap the camera system as it will only be a matter of time until a successful challenge gets a ruling on the delayed access to the allegation of speed. If that aspect is deemed unfair, or denies "natural justice" by ruling of a higher court, then its curtains for the systems until an in car advice of speed gadget becomes available and mandated in all cars.

    Tracking systems are already providing vehicle movement and time checks and there is nothing to stop those being tendered in evidence (prosecution or defence)

    Really the basic thing is get whatever technology is used to proven reliability with open audit records that can be accessed by the public where any dispute is raised. The redundant (separate) technology cross checking the other system is a good start in maintaining integrity. (thanks Robmac it would be interesting to meet your friend and compare notes) The public should be able to check if these redundant devices existed and have been (for whatever reason??) turned off or not "available"?

    A magistrate at the very least should have the power to order release or examination of data where it may well exonerate a person charged with an offence. There is too much secrecy trying to prevent access. If you don't have these rights the secrecy and commerciality can corrupt.

    I would much rather the ombudsman undertake an open investigation, or better still a Public Inquiry be raised to examine all of these questions. That is purely based on my own experience and doubts about the honesty and integrity of the camera system. In baseball its three strikes and your out, and with the track record of the cameras in this state, the strikes are on record!!.

    Ken

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    Ken your so right about this speed camera debacle. Whilst an infrequent user of freeways and tollways they are on I 'tense' up when approaching them. I find I lift the throttle and check the speed even in situations when this Captain should be proceeding in a steady as she goes.
    Even this may not be enough as you have demonstrated that the error is/could be greater than any allowance made from the driver. So you get a fine through 'no fault' of the driver.
    Money for Old Rope springs to mind.
    I'd rather see more of the good old fashioned 'visual deterrent', nothing calms traffic around my area quicker than a marked car.
    Road Safety is one thing but to use it as a smokescreen for revenue raising by what is non-compliant equipment is fraud. The local butcher has a duty to keep his scales in good working order and if not he cops the fine. For speed camera's this doesn't seem to be the case even if it leads to financial hardship through A: the fine or B: loss of licence leading to job loss.
    Then that'll be a court case to follow! But keep it under the applicable limit!

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    Bravo Ken on your persistence.


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    Quote Originally Posted by XTC View Post
    As for putting a "live at site" recorded speed on these things ... as I've said before you still haven't thought this thing through very well.
    Good points. Even with the current single sign speed indicators, it's very unclear to whom the speed indicated is referring to. Maybe if they put the car and licence plate on at the same time, which would be less feasible, and would increase cognitive load, it could be clearer. I don't see the value in that.

    The easiest solution would be relax tolerances - but there is more chance of it snowing in Darwin (or you ever agreeing with me LOL) then that happening.
    I suspect it may still be more likely than Ken accepting global warming. :-)

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