Lawyers prove speed camera “wildly inaccurate” | Smart Highways Magazine: Industry News

Lawyers prove speed camera “wildly inaccurate”

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A law firm has blogged about how it’s overturned an accusation that a driver was travelling at 85 mph in a 30 limit, by proving he was actually doing less than 30.

BB Law says it was asked to act for a Mr Baird in March, who was being prosecuted by Staffordshire Police for an alleged speeding offence.

The prosecution was based on evidence from a Gatso speed camera located on the A5011 Linley Road in Talke, Stoke-on-Trent.

This speed camera had recorded the client’s van to have been travelling at 85mph in a 30mph speed limit in December 2015.  But, the firm says, its client knew this was wrong and he asked the police to check their evidence but the police dismissed his concerns and subsequently summoned him to Stafford and then Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates’ courts.

“The difficulty our client faced was that Gatso speed cameras (like all speed cameras used by police in England and Wales) are ‘Home Office approved devices’, which means the courts and the prosecution will religiously follow a presumption that the approved device has accurately recorded the speed of the target vehicle,” the blog post explains, “this presumption of reliability can present a major hurdle for drivers who feel they may have been wrongly accused of exceeding a speed limit.

“Our client had spoken to numerous solicitors before contacting specialist motoring solicitors, BB Law.  Most solicitors he contacted had told him the accuracy of Gatso cameras could not be challenged, fortunately we were able to offer a more positive approach.

“Once instructed, BB Law quickly set about proving that despite its ‘home office approval’, this speed camera could not be relied upon to accurately calculate vehicle speeds.  Within a matter of weeks we had obtained the necessary evidence to enable us to prove that our client’s van was actually travelling at a maximum of 29.08mph. We proved this 100% categorically, there were no ifs or buts, our client was definitely NOT speeding and he was definitely NOT driving at 85mph!”

The post continues by explaining how the police accepted that the calculation of the van’s speed was correct and they dropped the case.  “This was a huge relief for our client who had spent the last 3 months of his life worrying about the prospect of losing his licence for a substantial period and possibly even facing a Dangerous Driving charge due to the extremely high level of excess speed in a 30mph limit,” it explains.

Mr Baird received a payment to cover his legal fees.

“So how does a home office approved speed camera manage to over-calculate the speed of a vehicle by a whopping 55mph?” asks the blogger.  “Good question.  We don’t know, the police don’t know (or at least they aren’t telling us if they do) and there is currently no word from the camera manufacturer.

“If the police and the camera manufacturer don’t know what caused this error then there is no way of knowing whether the problem affects other Gatso speed cameras.  It is also reasonable to conclude that this isn’t the first and only time that this speed camera has mis-calculated the speed of a vehicle.  We wonder how many drivers have been fined and had their licences endorsed with penalty points as a result of evidence produced by this camera.  Some may even have received a disqualification from driving.”

Picture, BB Law blog, showing the 85 MPH in the top right hand corner.


This type of camera has a second method of speed calculation. That method should, when it is done correctly prevent this from happening. Fair-enough the police should have done it properly but this mistake hardly suggests the camera is not fit for purpose.
Maybe Mr Bell has just set the standard for speed measurements when he says “We proved this 100% categorically…”. If that’s right Mr Bell the police can do away with the radar in these cameras and just use the 2 photographs. Perhaps the police can quote Bell in future cases.