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Are speed cameras really accurate? When police lose in court

Are speed cameras really accurate? When police lose in court

Speeding fines are one of those things that are, on face value, very hard to argue with – a police officer uses either a radar or a camera to check how fast you were going and if you’re over the limit – you’re toast.

But one Brisbane man who appealed his fine through the courts showed it is possible to beat the system.

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Police used a photographic device – a speed camera – and claimed they pinged the man driving at 73km/h in a 60km/h zone.

The relevant Queensland law states that when police use photographic devices to measure how fast you’re going then they need to have a certificate which shows the camera had been tested within the past year and was accurate.

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In the case in question the man initially lost in the Magistrate’s Court but then appealed up to the Queensland District Court with the Judge there finding: “the certificates do not state that the device had been calibrated within the prescribed 12 months.”

And because the certificates which showed the device was accurate weren’t current the Judge said the: “learned magistrate could not have been satisfied beyond reasonable doubt the device being relied upon by the prosecution in this case was producing accurate results.”

It is important to note the law is different for all types of devices and radar and some stationary speed checking equipment are subject to different standards.

Of course, with any speeding fine cost is a factor and a lot of people who insist they were not over the limit let the issue go because appealing can be more expensive than just paying.

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Ironically, incorrectly calibrated equipment is plausibly more likely to impact those who are only just over the speed-limit meaning innocent people caught by this area of law, often plead guilty.

The fine for exceeding the speed-limit by less than 13km/h presently sits at $175, the Queensland Police Service charge $47.90 for you get a hold of a copy of the calibration certificate and check if it is more than 12 months out of date.

So, while that may be excellent value for money for a person who was allegedly exceeding the speed limit by more than 40km/h – which attracts a $1,219 fine – it is less so for a person facing a smaller penalty.