4/7/2008UK: Top Speed Camera Trap Caught Tricking Motorists at Night
The most profitable UK speed camera issued $26 million in tickets at night when a speed limit change warning sign was completely unlit.
The UK's most profitable speed camera that has been sending £60 (US $120) tickets to vehicle owners at the rate of 2000 per day may now be forced to issue refunds. The device, located on the southbound M11 at Woodford, Essex is situated at the point where the speed limit suddenly drops from 70 MPH to 50 MPH. Last month motorist Simon Grills forced the Crown Prosecution Service to drop his speed camera ticket after he proved the signs warning of the speed change were effectively invisible at night. Grills produced evidence showing the lights meant to illuminate the signs had been burned out since November 18, 2005. Grills had spent months fighting the ticket he received in September 2006.
"When I got flashed I couldn't work out how I'd missed the sign," Grills told the Sunday Mirror newspaper. "Then it clicked -- it's simply not visible at night."
The Mirror estimated that since the bulbs burned out at least 214,000 drivers had been trapped by the camera at night, generating £13 million (US $26 million) in revenue.
The speed camera in question has been the center of controversy since it was first installed, inspiring one group to take its disagreement outside the courtroom. Captain Gatso, the leader of the anti-photo enforcement vigilante organization known as Motorists Against Detection (MAD), cited the M11 camera as evidence that officials were engaging in "fleecing, not policing" and proceeded to use a heavy truck to yank the device off of its mounting in late 2002.
"We have spoken to numerous police officers and emergency service personnel countrywide and they agree that the majority of speed cameras are sited for revenue, not safety, and in a lot of cases they just impede general progress," Captain Gatso said in a statement at the time.