February 02, 2007
On this day:

Speed cameras are mainly inaccurate

BBC TV local news programme "Look East" reveals today that Gatso speed camera calibration procedures raise an anomaly that casts doubt on the evidence from around half the cameras.

The problem is that when cameras have been sent for routine annual calibration, about half of them had to be repaired before the calibration process was completed. This provides documentary evidence that around half the cameras became faulty at some point during the year before calibration. Since we cannot know when the faults first appeared it does mean that any camera so affected cannot be relied upon to provide accurate legal evidence to the standards required by our courts.

This came to light when Sally Chidzoy of BBC TV Look East obtained camera calibration invoices under the Freedom of Information Act.

The invoices so far obtained apply to Essex and Hertfordshire cameras. It's likely that a similar situation applies to all Gatso cameras in every area.

Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed road safety campaign (http://www.safespeed.org.uk) said: "Nothing about the incompetence of speed camera operations surprises me any more, but this particular blunder is certainly of epic proportions."

"This information casts very substantial doubts on the safety of evidence from thousands of cameras used against hundreds of thousands of motorists."

"Confidence in speed cameras is already at rock bottom, but this information will drive it down further. I can only imagine that hundreds of thousands - or even millions - of motorists are going to be asking for their money back."

Now I'm no solicitor, but run this past yours if you have been caught by a Gatso recently. Immediately ask for a copy of its maintenance log including any invoices for repairs for the last annual maintenance along with its calibration history. If it is due for its annual maintenance then you could probably challenge the penalty in court.

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