1/19/2009UK Speed Camera Accuses 73hp Honda of Impossible Speeds
A 73hp Honda was accused of driving 98 MPH, 13 MPH faster than a test showed it was capable of driving.
The owner of a fourteen-year-old Honda was vindicated after a speed camera in Bristol, UK accused the vehicle of driving an impossible speed. Crown prosecutors had threatened Dale Lyle, 21, with a fine of £1000 (US $1450) and a six-month license suspension for the crime of driving 98 MPH in a 70 zone. After being accused, Lyle was so determined not to give in and pay the unjust fine that he spent £1200 (US $1740) of his own money to prove his innocence.
"It's ridiculous the lengths I've had to go to prove I was innocent, Lyle told the Bristol Evening Post. "The whole thing has been a shambles, a waste of money."
Lyle had been behind the wheel of his 1994 Honda Civic on December 13, 2007 when a speed camera on the A38 near Plymouth insisted that the little Honda was doing 98 MPH. Lyle's unmodified car had been equipped with a 1.3 liter engine that made a total of 73 horsepower when new -- but by then it had about 130,000 miles on the odometer. Lyle knew the ticket had to be wrong.
"I certainly wouldn't want to drive my Honda Civic at 98 MPH," Lyle told the Evening Post. "It's such a small car I wouldn't feel safe -- it's a glorified Japanese shopping trolley."
Local magistrates refused to consider the car's lack of power as evidence and in June told Lyle that he had to pay to have his car tested by an independent laboratory at his own expense if he wanted to continue with that line of argument. By that time, however, Lyle had already replaced the Honda with another car. He was forced to buy it back for £600 (US $870) and then spend another £600 having the vehicle examined on a test track in Bedfordshire. The results of the test showed conclusively that the Honda's maximum speed was 85.4 MPH.
"It makes you wonder how many people say 'fine, give me the points' when they are not guilty," Lyle said after reflecting on the trouble he went through.
Lyle now hopes the court will grant a request to cover the costs he incurred in proving his innocence.