11/28/2006UK High Court Considers Hidden Speed Limit Sign Tickets
Motorist challenges a speed camera trap that took advantage of a hidden speed limit sign.
Are speeding tickets valid when the sign warning motorists of the legal speed limit is hidden behind bushes? That's the question motorist John Coombes brought in his appeal to the UK High Court of Justice yesterday.
Mendip magistrates and later the Bristol Crown Court on appeal found Coombes guilty despite the unseen sign, and imposed on him a penalty of £629 (US $1225) in fees and fines for attempting to challenge the system. Prosecutors argued that a speed camera photographed him traveling more than 30 MPH on the B3139 Bath Road at Horrington on July 4, 2005. The bright, sunny day and overgrown bushes made it impossible to see the sign signifying the speed limit had lowered from 40 MPH. Photographs introduced as evidence documented the visibility problems.
The prosecution countered that even if signs are unseen, they are still valid because they are "appropriate, of the correct height and shape, and in the correct place."