Speed Cameras Used To Charge People With Other Crimes

from the not-just-for-speed dept

We’ve pointed out all sorts of problems with speed cameras that automatically give out tickets for people who aren’t speeding — but what if they try to cite you for some other infraction? Politech points to the case of a young man who has been convicted of dangerous driving via a speed camera — despite the fact that he wasn’t speeding. His crime? Giving the “V” symbol (the equivalent to the middle finger here in the US) to the speed camera and taking his hands off the wheel. Of course, this should raise a question about why anyone looked at the photo at all if it didn’t trigger for him speeding? Does the UK just have people randomly monitoring what they see on these speed cameras?

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Comments on “Speed Cameras Used To Charge People With Other Crimes”

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EdV (user link) says:

The UK is one of the worst...

…places in the world so far as surveilence cameras are concerned. It’s simply amazing how many of them there are. Worse yet, there’s a plan now to link them all together. Traffic cams, gas station cams, red light and speeding cams, all to be linked together, so that vehicles can and will be tracked and followed on each and every trip they make. Combine that with the denity of pedestrian scanning cameras, face recognition software currently in use and the fact that all data will be stored for up to 5 years or so, and we have George Orwell spinning in his grave with enough force to power a light plant sufficiant to supply a small city.

bigpicture says:

Re: The UK is one of the worst...

I suppose there can be no expectation of privacy when you are in public places. But this does raise some interesting questions about the difference between democratic freedoms and fascism. And what constitutes a crime and what is purely exercise of power for personal motives by government workers. If it had been a passenger giving the finger, what would the charge have been then? Suppression of personal expression under a thinly veiled disguise would not have been so easy.

Mousky (user link) says:

Re: Re: The UK is one of the worst...

This has nothing to do with some notion of expectation of privacy in public (there is none). It has everything to do with government surveillance. First the government introduces speed cameras, then red light cameras, they CCTV in public areas like downtowns, and so on. How is a society free and democratic when the government monitors people 24/7? We acted shocked when we read about the secret police in the Soviet Union and East Germany. But their is no shock from the public when the police and government introduce more and more cameras under the guise of safety and security.

TechNoFear (profile) says:

Australia has been doing this for a while...

Australia’s police use a variety of speed cameras, Multinova is most common.
The police check for other offences including;
not wearing a seat belt
unregistered vehicles
In my state they had to bring in a law this year that made the owner of the vehicle responsible for any fines unless they could identify the driver.
This is because it became well known that the police could not _prove_ the drivers identity from the black and white cameras photos.
So if you had enough ‘front’ to deny it was you (while the police officer insists it is clearly you in the photo), then say you don’t know who it was driving your car, you could not be fined.

FireMonkey says:

Re: Re: Australia has been doing this for a while...

Why would it be so tough? The photos would have a time/date stamp, and cross referencing that data with their database would be quite simple.

They would only have to add a clause to their leasing agreement stating that all fines incurred would be charged to the leasor’s credit card.

They could even profit from it. If you get a speeding ticket while leasing one of their cars, and the ticket is, for example, $150, they could charge you the $150 plus an “administration fee” of $75. Additionally, they could use the record as an excuse to charge higher lease rates to you in the future, since you’re obviously not a perfect driver.

Or… they could just get offended about you flipping them the bird. Whatever works.

Mousky (user link) says:

Re: Australia has been doing this for a while...

“In my state they had to bring in a law this year that made the owner of the vehicle responsible for any fines unless they could identify the driver.”

This simply proves that speed cameras exist for one reason only: to generate revenue. They have a similar law here in Ontario. Vehicle owner is responsible for fines. No demerit points are issued. It’s all about revenue.

imeglomaniac says:

Re: Re: Here in the U.S.

Here in the states we have unmarked highway patrol cars. Why would they have them if in fact they wern’t all about revenue. I am sick to death of all these Big brother, 1984, Orsen Wells, I have no rights, people complaining here in the states. If you don’t like the way things are run. Vote someone else into office. or better have your political party nominate a decent choice instead of a pud smoker that all he has for a good reason to vote for him is he isn’t Bush. if you ever have any questions about Kerry watch the Manchurian Canidate it will answer all your questions. Give me a good canidate and I will vote for him I don’t care about political partys I just want a president who isn’t a). a philaderer b). A puppet c). a 2.0 beta test for cloning c). an Idiot

You lot still dont understand the depth of intrusi says:

Re: Re: Australia has been doing this for a while...

Lets keep it simple:
You get caught and go to jail for drugs offences and you drive a car.
Your data is entered into the police computer system.
All passengers for the last 5 years who have been scanned in your car or previously owned cars are connected to the search.
The software shows your movements like a family tree along a timeline and the movements of your family members and friends and anyone else that has come into contact with you and been recorded and identified.
Similarities are searched out for movements and patterns appear to confirm the illegal activities of the convicted persons family members and friends.

3am. Door gets pushed in and they take you away for questioning. Under the terror laws the police dont even have to tell your family that you have been taken. You simply vanish.

Criminal profiling applied to traffic and pedestrian monitoring systems is the thing of horror sci-fi.

Sleep well people, we voted them in.

Claire Rand says:

Speed Cams

Interestingly the move from cams that pic the rear of the car to ones focussed on the front has had an interesting effect, that of allowing bikers to speed without fear where its this nwer type of camera in operation.

reason? When in the UK did you last see a bike with a reg number on the FRONT? also with that wonderful helmet try proving who the driver was.

there is apparently the get out of more than one person saying they think they could have ben driving, since obviously more than one CANNOT, but now it has to be proved who it was. hence rules like the registered keeper getting the fine regardless.

I don’t have a problem with speed cams as such, but the placement raises questions over the ‘safety’ issue, not yet seen one near an accident blackspot, amazing how many are on arrow straight roads though.

surveilance is indeed an option, but frankly unless they can program a computer, and we all know how good governments are at that, are they *really* going to have the time? once a few people get hold of a sample dataset and see just how low the accuracy is it becomes a good way to backup other evidence.

the biggest problem, the move from actual human enforcement, who can actually be helpful in the case of say a crash to a camera, which will take a nice picture of a crash and be bugger all use.

I don’t even have a problem with them being used for raising revenue, mostly since by not speeding etc the costa are avoided. I just wish gov’s were a bit more open about it. e.g.

“This hospital paid for by x speeding motorists” or a sign below the ‘speed camera’ sign indicating just how much its raised to date etc.

Rob Miles (profile) says:

Bring 'em on!

I for one welcome speed cameras, as well as red light cams. I’m so sick and tired of assholes who have this idea that speed limits and stop lights are only for when cops are around (and cops who think they are for everyone but them.) If it will keep people from driving 40+ mph in my 25 mph neighborhood while I’m trying to walk my dogs, especially the guys from the Dept. of Transp, who’s motor pool is right up the street, I’m all for it.

Sure, there may be issues at this time with the cams giving false positives, but on balance I think it would be a good thing. Best case scenario would be like it was in Germany 15 years ago; the cams aren’t everywhere, but they are movable so they could show up at anytime. I got “blitzed” once, and my German wife explained how it was, and you can believe I didn’t speed again. You never know when you’re going to go by one, so you tend to be more careful.

And the dumbasses who just keep on speeding regardless? Hey, they get away with it 9 times out of 10, but that 1 time they get “caught” is more than worth it.

CloakedMirror says:

Re: Bring 'em on!

This is the typical kind of view that causes me heartburn. It is also indicative of the “knee-jerk” responses we see whenever there is any type of terrorist attack.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “They that give up their liberty in order to obtain security deserve neither their liberty, nor their security.”

While I want safety and security, I am loathe to give up liberty in the vain hope that doing so will guarantee their existance.

Chris Barchak says:

Mobile van used for camera

The photo was captured by a mobile camera van, meaning it was a manned moving vehicle so they saw exactly what they photographed. Also I thought the obscene gesture was a V sign with the back of the hands facing forward, not the palms. My guess is the officer thought he was being given the obscene gesture but actually did get the “peace” sign. Since they already decided to give the ticket, they trumped up the charges to dangerous driving.

John says:

Re: Mobile van used for camera

My state once had unmarked SUV’s parked on the side of the road which had a radar gun and camera system setup in the back. Police would just park it there and leave it for the day and then come back and see how many people were speeding and mail them the ticket. This lasted for a few months and then someone complained and took the whole thing to court and won and it was deemed illegal. I am not sure if it somehow violated state law or federal law but there are no more. Just cops sitting in cars in speedtraps all over the place.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Mobile van used for camera

Its quite simple – drive safely, dnt get fined. Why has anyone got problems with cameras ? if you dont break the law by breaking the speed limit you dont get fined, simple as that. Anyone driving above the speed limit should be punished no matter how they are caught.

CloakedMirror says:

Re: Re: Mobile van used for camera

Why has anyone got problems with cameras ?

Starting with the obvious, using today’s technology it is easy for someone to misuse (abuse of power) the photographs.

Its quite simple – drive safely, dnt get fined.

Anyone driving above the speed limit should be punished no matter how they are caught.

Your point is simplistic to the point of absurdity. At the least, it leaves out the simple concept of needing to travel in excess of the speed limit for cases involving emergencies.

Ben (user link) says:

Slight correction

The “v” sign being displayed is actually the more polite “victory” sign (famously made by Sir Winston Churchill), rather than the other more abusive one. Basically the fingers are facing the wrong way around, palm outwards:


Also, the camera is not the standard UK GATSO style camera (rear facing), but more likely a camera mounted on a police vehicle monitoring a speed trap.


My feeling is that the young man was driving along and the police officer was running a speed trap. When the young man is surprised by the speed trap’s existence he realises that he was under the speed limit and therefore “safe” from the speed trap. He makes the sign and takes his hands off the wheel, and as a result becomes a “dangerous driver”.

That single act of defiant rebellion against authority cost him his licence and the copper probably only really arrested him because he thought the young man was taking the piss. The golden rule of dealing with the police is to be calm, assertive and polite.

Scott says:

Actually Mike

In a town here in the US near where I grew up, part of the red light cam law requires and officer to review every picture before writing a citation.
This means that 1.) A human cites you, you don’t get it automatically because the camera snapped you.
2.) The constitution is very thinly, technically, satisfied because now you can face your accuser in a court of law.

shut up already says:

No Subject Given

To everybody bitching about losing your “freedom:” We’re still fighting a war. Two wars, in fact. And if we WEREN’T doing things like putting up surveillance cameras and tracking people’s movements and searching your luggage at the airport YOU’D be the first ones crying about the government not protecting you next time big airplanes start crashing into tall buildings.

If Bush wanted a police state, we’d have had one on 9/11. If Bush had declared martial law that day no one would have questioned his authority to do so. Stop whining already.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

All this about your right to privacy from the government and probably the majority of yo are ok with banning guns. There is no “big governemnt”. It’s all about money, money for the cities, money for the county, money for the state. These are just taxes. Nobody gives a damn where you go or what you do.

as for the war being trumped up so Bush can do whatever he wants to do, what is it he wants to do? We are at war, we were at war before 9/11 and you just dn’t get it. Oh, is /jerk your name?

The Other Mike says:

Re: Re: "We're still fighting a war"

Someone wake me when the children stop fighting about Bush. He got more than half the votes from the country last I checked, and that is enough to garner him his position – whether you or I like it or not. Nobody can change that so offer something productive or don’t embarass yourself – because nobody else cares anymore. (Yeah yeah I know life isn’t fair, yadda yadda yadda, move on – everyone else has).

As for the real issue here… It’s a tough one. These cameras can and do save lives, and offer evidence in other crimes like rape and murder and such too. The real question here is how do you punish people who abuse the power of these cameras, I think. Everything can be abused in one way or another. Most of the time the consequences are obvious and are big enough to keep all but the most determined people from breaking the rules.

Oh and for the comment about government developers: yes government work sucks and that’s why they created the internet before private business right? I think maybe you are a bit uninformed. Oh, and I would be willing to bet that this kind of software would come from a private contractor. That’s right you can sleep tight knowing that our government is using the best and the brightest from the private industry, as well as the public sector, to accomplish its goals (this or others).

catbeller says:

Re: No Subject Given

“We’re still fighting a war. Two wars, in fact. “
No. We are not. We’re occupying two countries after we invaded them, and swiped their oil and pipeline right of ways. And bungling it.
We invaded because we wanted to, because we were lied to and made afraid, so we want a daddy to make it all go away and keep us safe. After daddy admited he lied, we then accept the idea that it is all fine because we are bringing civilization to the dark peoples, so it’s all right then.
Who are we at war with? Can you name the leader of that country? How will we win the war? When will the war be over? Who declared the war? Who declares it over? Where is it? Who speaks for the other side, if negotiations for surrender are to be expected? Who is the other side? Who surrenders? What are the terms of surrender?
How do you defeat a common noun?
Nonsense. No war. No enemy. Just infinite power for the executive until a Democrat becomes president. Then, of course, the limits to power will be rediscovered. Not that there is any difference between the two parties anymore — both are fascist, one because of general beliefs, the other because they think that’s what the people want of them.
no one speaks for sanity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No Subject Given

To everybody bitching about losing your “freedom:” We’re still fighting a war. Two wars, in fact. And if we WEREN’T doing things like putting up surveillance cameras and tracking people’s movements and searching your luggage at the airport YOU’D be the first ones crying about the government not protecting you next time big airplanes start crashing into tall buildings.

If Bush wanted a police state, we’d have had one on 9/11. If Bush had declared martial law that day no one would have questioned his authority to do so. Stop whining already.


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