(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
fines, speeding, tickets, uk, video

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Another YouTube Speeder Found Not Guilty Due To Lack Of Evidence

from the be-careful-when-you-speed-and-youtube dept

It seems that it's becoming somewhat common for police to scour YouTube for videos of people filming themselves speeding. However, at the same time, we're seeing at least a few of the tickets handed out for such YouTube speeding thrown out. The latest is over in the UK, where a guy charged with speeding due to a YouTube video has been found not guilty because there's not enough evidence that he was the one actually driving the car -- or that the car was really traveling at the speed shown on the speedometer. This doesn't mean that folks posting their speeding videos on YouTube won't still be fined, but it appears that (at least in the UK) courts are making sure that there's enough actual evidence there to make the fines stick.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2008 @ 11:05pm

    Wow the UK actually doing something smart.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Keill Randor, 9 Oct 2008 @ 12:22am

    Uk Courts...

    Thankfully our court system over here the UK isn't QUITE as easy to politicize as it is in the US, so you tend to have a more balanced outcome. I just hope it stays that way...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous UK, 9 Oct 2008 @ 3:32am

    Reckless driving

    If these people are reckless enough to spend their time driving around the streets with video camera's filming their speedometers. Then whether they were doing the actual speed shown or not, they definitely aren't driving with due car and attention and should be fined according.

    As to proving who was driving the car at the time, it should be the owner of the vehicle's responsibility to make sure the persons driving their vehicle are acting within the law and (unless it has already been reported as stolen). Therefore they should either provide details of the person driving their vehicle at the time of the video or fined themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2008 @ 3:45am

      Re: Reckless driving

      cHow do you exactly "make sure the persons driving their vehicle are acting within the law?"

      Can you suggest a practical way to enforce it?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Jerk, 9 Oct 2008 @ 3:58am

        Re: Re: Reckless driving

        I think he means if you think your friend is going to speed, record it, and post it, don't loan him your car.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      hegemon13, 9 Oct 2008 @ 6:05am

      Re: Reckless driving

      1. How are they going to determine the owner of the vehicle from interior video?
      2. It is my right to loan out my vehicle. In most US states, the responsibility for safe and proper driving falls, rightfully, on the driver, not the vehicle owner. Think about the liability of car rental companies if we made the car owners responsible! Now, I could be charged with obstruction of justice if I were subpoenaed to provide the name of the person using the car, and I refused.
      3. Many young people post videos they have found, claiming credit in order to look "cool." I think what the courts are saying is, how do we know the video in question was not one simply found elsewhere by the user and reposted as opposed to being shot by the user?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous UK, 9 Oct 2008 @ 4:31am

    Reckless Driving

    The point I was trying to get across is this. If you, as the owner of a vehicle allow someone other than yourself to drive your vehicle. It should be with the understanding that if said other person breaks the law and the courts are not be able to prove who was actually driving at the time of the crime. It is then the owners responsibility to provide information of who was driving their vehicle at that time and if not it is you the owner who can be held accountable. (Unless the vehicle has been stolen).

    So in the case of this news story. If the courts cannot determine that it was the owner of the vehicle who was driving at the time of the video's recording and the owner is claiming innocence. Then the owner should have to provide the police/courts with the details of the person who was driving, or pay the fine themselves.

    Basically ignorance should not equal innocence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2008 @ 5:57am

      Re: Reckless Driving

      Maybe it's because your in the UK, but here in the US you cannot compel someone to testify against themselves (fifth amendment), and without enough evidence that the owner was the driver at the time of the infraction then it would be a mis-carriage of justice to then fine the owner for the actions of another. If my employee decided to use the computer that I provided for business purposes, and I am the Owner of that computer, then the employee uses it in a crime. If the government can't determine who was actually using the computer at the time of the crime should I then be charged and convicted? It essentially the same thing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        nasch, 9 Oct 2008 @ 7:30am

        Re: Re: Reckless Driving

        In the case of speed/red light cameras in at least some jurisdictions, this "miscarriage of justice" is exactly how it works. They send a photo and a ticket to the owner's address, and the owner has to either pay up or tell the police who was driving.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          BTR1701, 9 Oct 2008 @ 12:21pm

          Re: Re: Re: Reckless Driving

          > In the case of speed/red light cameras in
          > at least some jurisdictions, this "miscarriage
          > of justice" is exactly how it works.

          The difference is that the tickets generated by those cameras are adminstrative fines, not criminal citations.

          Yes, under such a system, the state can hold the owner of the vehicle responsible for the fines, no matter who was actually driving. But at the same time, they have to give up a lot of the advantages that come with a criminal charge.

          With a traditional criminal speeding ticket, if you didn't show up in court or pay the fine, they could issue a warrant for your arrest. They could also suspend your license if you got too many tickets and sentence you to take classes like Defensive Driving.

          With camera tickets, all that stuff is no longer available to the state. If you fail to pay the fine, the worst thing they can do is send the debt to a collection agency, which might blacken your credit rating and/or bar you from re-registering your vehicle until the fine is paid. They can't arrest you for it, put points on your license for it or take your license away-- because in order to do any of those things, the state has to prove *you personally* committed the offense, not just your vehicle. And they can't meet that burden of proof with a camera photo of your car.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      amaya, 9 Oct 2008 @ 6:08am

      Re: Reckless Driving

      how do we find out who the owner of the car is? they dont show the vin number on those youtube videos, they dont show the registration, all you get is a shot of the inside of the car. so, your saying that if a friend of mine borrows my truck and they get caught speeding your saying i should get a ticket because it was my truck that allowed them to speed? what if someone borrows my truck and causes a huge pileup on the freeway? should i be held responsible? i was miles away eating cake at my grandmothers house, so how could i have known that there was a risk of them causing the pileup? that is why they have insurance, and that is why i carry insurance on my truck that covers it no matter who drives, because i dont mind if my friends borrow it, and i know that accidents happen.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      hegemon13, 9 Oct 2008 @ 6:13am

      Re: Reckless Driving

      Can you explain to me why the owner should be held in any way accountable? A car is a machine, nothing more. It can be used legally or illegally, and ownership has no influence on that. So why should an owner be liable for the actions of a friend driving his or her car? The approach of "if we can't punish the perpetrator, let's find someone else to punish in his place" is dangerous, stupid, and blatantly unjust.

      I agree that, if issued a court subpoena, the owner must provide information about who drove the car. However, refusal would lead to an obstruction of justice charge, NOT liability for the original crime.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      BTR1701, 9 Oct 2008 @ 12:14pm

      Re: Reckless Driving

      > So in the case of this news story. If the
      > courts cannot determine that it was the
      > owner of the vehicle who was driving at
      > the time of the video's recording and the
      > owner is claiming innocence. Then the owner
      > should have to provide the police/courts
      > with the details of the person who was
      > driving, or pay the fine themselves.

      There's a little thing we have in USA (which you may or may not have in the UK-- I have no idea) called the "presumption of innocence".

      That means the state has to prove me guilty of a crime. I don't have to prove myself innocent. And I cannot be compelled to testify against myself, either.

      That means that if the state charges me with a crime, they better have the evidence to prove it. I don't even have to say a word other than "not guilty" when they ask how I plead. I certainly am not obligated to provide details of who was driving my car, at what time and under what circumstances. If they can't prove I was behind the wheel, then I'm entitled to an acquittal and that acquittal can't be conditioned on me helping the authorities figure out who *was* the driver at the time.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Scott Lithgow, 9 Oct 2008 @ 4:39am

    Innocent until proven etc

    I have often wondered how they got the guilty verdicts without any evidence other than a shot through the windscreen. Obviously the ones that turn the camera on themselves whilst shouting there name and address are a different story.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sean, 9 Oct 2008 @ 5:20am

    Italy's worse..

    Just yesterday on the news (if I find an article on La Repubblica I'll link to it) a speeding driver won an appeal against his ban.

    His lawyer pointed out that under Italian law, the police have to record the speed 4 times, I suppose in order to cancel out radar-gun errors.

    It was successfully argued that the driver was driving too fast to be correctly recorded 4 times, and therefore cannot be charged with speeding.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2008 @ 6:01am

    "If my employee decided to use the computer that I provided for business purposes, and I am the Owner of that computer, then the employee uses it in a crime. If the government can't determine who was actually using the computer at the time of the crime should I then be charged and convicted?"

    What about the poor RIAA?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Casey, 9 Oct 2008 @ 6:10am

    Re: Reckless Driving

    "If the government can't determine who was actually using the computer at the time of the crime should I then be charged and convicted? It essentially the same thing."

    Yes, if you as the employer can't identify who was downloading child porn on your computer then you should be held accountable. It's not too hard to figure out who was sitting at what desk in an office environment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2008 @ 6:25am

      Re: Re: Reckless Driving

      That doesn't come any were close to the proof beyond a reasonable doubt criteria. Just because you wish someone be held accountable does not make it legal, or are you suggesting some form of anarchy?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2008 @ 6:13am

    "how do we find out who the owner of the car is? they dont show the vin number on those youtube videos, they dont show the registration, all you get is a shot of the inside of the car. so, your saying that if a friend of mine borrows my truck and they get caught speeding your saying i should get a ticket because it was my truck that allowed them to speed? what if someone borrows my truck and causes a huge pileup on the freeway? should i be held responsible? i was miles away eating cake at my grandmothers house, so how could i have known that there was a risk of them causing the pileup? that is why they have insurance, and that is why i carry insurance on my truck that covers it no matter who drives, because i dont mind if my friends borrow it, and i know that accidents happen."

    No, you shouldn't be held accountable. I assume the cops would be able to identify the person in your vehicle on the scene.

    Now, if that person causes the pileup and then flee's the scene. Expect the cops to come knocking because it's your license plate sitting on the interstate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chad, 9 Oct 2008 @ 2:56pm

    In Canada where I live, we have photo radar cameras here. They basically take a picture of your car speeding and whether you're the one driving or not, the owner of the vehicle is the one who gets the ticket. In those cases, you don't even get to see a speedometer, you don't get to fight the tickets very easily, or prove that the camera is even working.

    In a case where someone is actually filming themselves speed and bragging about it, whether they're the ones driving or not.. the fact that they let their vehicle be in a situation like that in the first place is reason enough to give them a ticket.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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