10/23/2010Australia, Illinois, France, Saudi Arabia, Washington: Speed Camera Problems Rampant
Bogus speed camera tickets are issued in Australia, Illinois, France, Saudi Arabia and Washington state.
The Roads and Traffic Authority in New South Wales, Australia admits that poor quality roads had caused speed camera inaccuracy. Complaints about bogus speed readings in North Narrabeen forced 996 refunds worth A$173,251 and centered on a faulty sensor in one of the lanes.
"Following comprehensive investigations and testing on the camera systems it was revealed that the issue was attributed to road surface instability for lane one only," Transport Minister John Robertson said, as reported in Australasian Transport News. "In the interest of fairness to motorists, it is the RTA's practice not to proceed with any camera-based infringements whenever there is any doubt about the operation of fixed camera enforcement.
In the town of La Chapelle-d'Angillon, in central France, authorities installed a speed camera on the RD940, Le Journal du Centre reported. The automated ticketing machine was supposed to operate at the 50 km/h stretch of road, but it ended up taking photographs of a pole located just a few yards away from the camera.
In Lynnwood, Washington, a municipal court judge overturned the $124 speed camera ticket mailed to Paul Cesmat because the city did not provide the required warnings to indicate a lowered speed limit had been in effect. KING-TV reported that the city's for-profit contractor had set up cameras outside Lynnwood Elementary School where a sign says the speed limit is 20 MPH when lights are flashing. The sign had no lights installed.
On August 25, Chicago, Illinois resident Sonia Nano received a $375 ticket in the mail claiming that her 2005 Nissan was photographed traveling through Interstate 55 on May 25 at 62 MPH in the reduced speed limit 45 zone in Sangamon County. As the Chicago Tribune reported, Nano does not own a Nissan and was never in Sangamon County. To fight the ticket, she was told to make the four-hour drive to Springfield to appear on October 14 at 9am. Only after the Tribune intervened did the state attorney's office agree to drop the bogus citation.
In Saudi Arabia, traffic chief Solaiman Al-Ajlan admitted that bogus tickets had been issued and that recipients of false tickets could contact the Penalties Department. The Saudi Gazette reported that the "Saher" average speed camera system was attempting to calculate the average speed of cars between two points without accounting for the fact that routes in between the measuring points frequently had different speed limits.