8/14/2006Australia: Speed Camera Records Car at 690 MPH
Documents from a court trial in Australia prove speed cameras record motorists routinely driving at speeds up to 690 MPH.
Hand-held speed cameras in Australia are recording motorists traveling impossible speeds. One accused driver, David Gillan, decided that he would fight back against a ticket he received on a freeway south of Adelaide because he believed that he was not speeding. To prepare his court case, Gillan requested the speed camera operator's notes and calibration documents. When he received them, he noticed the camera had claimed one automobile reached 690 MPH and another 248 MPH.
The television program Today Tonight hired a traffic engineer, Grad Zivkovic, to recreate the error in Gillan's case. Zivkovic explained that a brick wall at the location was interfering with camera readings by reflecting the signal from the gun. It caused 90 MPH readings for cars that were obviously not speeding. At another location, the television crew set its cruise control to 37 MPH to test the speed gun. Zivkovic clocked them at 80 MPH.
"Police say 'trust us' and police also say 'trust manufacturer,' but we learn many times in our lives we have to check certain things to make sure they do operate correctly," Zivkovic explained on the program.
In 2004, more than 165,000 speed camera citations worth A$26 million were overturned after a woman proved her 1975 Datsun was clocked at a speed it was unable to reach. British media have also documented the same flaws in hand-held lidar speed detection devices, especially the LTI 20-20 model which is the commonly used in the US.