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Red Light Cameras

By Aurelius - 21 February 2008 31

I know there is a bit of an anti-camera sentiment amongst Rioters, and so I offer this story.
I recently received a traffic infringement notice for “proceed when traffic arrow red”. It said that just after midnight on January 28 (note: public holiday = double demerit points) I went thru a red arrow at a traffic light.

Ordinarily, I would have just paid it, since I know I sometimes skate close to the line and it’s entirely possible I might have done what was alleged. But I remembered this particular trip. I had a friend staying for the long weekend and late at night, we went out to hunt for a snack. This friend is someone who never does anything wrong – I’m sure you know the type. And I’m pretty confident that if I’d run a red light, if I’d even cut it fine, Eric would have said something. I don’t remember it being a topic for discussion while we toured the ACT looking for hot dogs, so I was pretty confident a mistake was made.

I have just now seen the photos.

They show my car stopped at the lights, with the brake lights on. The car stopped a short amount beyond the first white line, but not excessively. The car is a Barina and the front wheel is sitting almost on the line.

They also show the date and time incorrect (and given the issue of double demerits, the date is a very relevant detail) with both the original infringement and my own recollection.
I am obviously going to contest this infringement. And I would encourage you all to do so too, if you receive such a letter. It just concerns me that a lot of people would just pay without questioning. Everyone I have asked thus far has said they would pay without requesting the photo.

What’s Your opinion?

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31 Responses to
Red Light Cameras
Danman 12:53 pm 21 Feb 08

Well there ya go….. 🙂

LG 12:51 pm 21 Feb 08

I think in WA its 2-3 years from the date of the infringement. If the ACT does a bulk 5 year refresh – it seems a bit unfair.

natecv8 12:48 pm 21 Feb 08

Snarky: You went about it the wrong way. Every infringement they get they will deny you a caution unless you have a VERY, very good reason. It’s revenue for them and they won’t give it away that easily.

You need to be steadfast in your approach, that you will contest the fine in court based on those factors. More likely than not they will still organise a court date, but the judge will likely withdraw the fine.

Danman: Not quite true. All infringements expire after a 3 year rolling period. If you get one on the 1st of Jan 2000, the points will be returned on the 1st of Jan 2003.

The multiple of 5 years you are thinking of is generally when you need to renew your license. That doesn’t have any effect on points at all, it’s just a new piece of plastic with a new photo.

Danman 12:05 pm 21 Feb 08

Every multipule of 5 years of you rage afetr you got your license is when the points are refreshed.

i.e. I am just about to turn 30, so my point, if I had lost any, will be renewed.

As i understand it, this will not happen again until I am 35.

Snarky 12:00 pm 21 Feb 08

I got done for going through the red on Hindmarsh Drive about 4 years ago. It was a fair cop – it was about quarter to 2 in the morning, I was tired and I misjudged the light timing, so, guilty, no question about it.

Up till then I’d had a spotless driving record for some 17 years previously – nothing but a couple of parking fines, in fact. So, I wrote off to the Commissioner asking if, in light of the fact of the spotless record, the time of the offence and the fact there was no-one else round at all whether I might get off with a caution this time.

Not a chance.

Made me realise that the police don’t view it as a “spotless driving record”, merely a record where you haven’t been caught yet and therefore of no real value at all. It’s changed the way I drive. I used to drive like an old nanna, extra cautious and protecting the “spotless” record. Now I take a few more risks than I used to – I still drive like a nanna (old habits etc) but now it’s a nanna with a bad attitude 🙂

Incidentally, is it still 3 years to regain lost points?

V8 Berlina with a th 11:31 am 21 Feb 08

Red Light cameras ad “running a red light” are casual terms. The offence red light camera is proceeding into/through an intersection against a traffic signal. Indeed, they are to keep us safer by stopping people who go through the intersection completely. You did not. However you did cross the line and however petty we all consider it, you did illegally enter an intersection.

I must say though that the photograph should show that and penalties should differ for illegally entering the intersection (a short distance in error) and actually passing through it. In some jurisdictions (UK, not sure about Aus), multiple images are taken in sequence to differentiate the offences and to clear those who make genuine errors such as in this circumstance. I would move for the government to ensure a sequence of images is taken in the ACT, but that would cut revenue I guess.

“proceeding against red arrow” then one cannot ‘proceed’ with one’s brakes on.”
Just because your brakes are on does not mean ou can’t still move the vehicle. And whether or not your brakes were on, you crossed the line and that is “proceeding” into an intersection.

Crikey 11:28 am 21 Feb 08

Late night snack…were you and Eric smoking bongs that night?

EtFb 11:01 am 21 Feb 08

I got done for the same fairly ridiculous “infringement” (at a spot where the sensors are very obviously set up to catch this sort of thing regardless of sense). On the advice of a friend who’s fairly senior in the AFP, I sent a letter off to the “Chief Police Officer” explaining the situation and asking him to get someone in the Infringements division to take a look at the photo with a view to having the notice cancelled. Kept it short and polite and… well, I haven’t heard back yet, but I have reason to be optimistic. Police are NOT, in fact, total bastards, and no cop would have dinged me in person for my terrible crime. I think it’ll be OK.

Aurelius 10:56 am 21 Feb 08

Berlina: While I agree with the ‘across the line’ argument, let us pause and remember why red lights cameras exist. They’re to stop people running red lights, therefore causing accidents.
And if we’re discussing definitions, if the infringement says “proceeding against red arrow” then one cannot ‘proceed’ with one’s brakes on.

Mælinar 10:53 am 21 Feb 08

I believe a precedent has already been set in the ACT where a judge ruled that if it was possible to get one thing wrong on a speeding fine, then it is reasonable to presume that they could have gotten the details incorrect as to the speed (from the top of my head it was the date or something).

Again from the top of my head, I think it may have been Kirby in 2003 – but google should be able to front more reliable data.

Following that precedent, but applying it to your situation, you can follow the line that it is reasonable to expect that they got a number of things wrong, but you may have to see your day in court to get off.

barney 10:44 am 21 Feb 08

I didn’t think they had Gorilla Dog’s back in 1995. I was thinking something like 1999, or round about…

Oh and AM CB. What’s that got to do with Gorilla Dog’s? Does one change service station diets according to HF or UHF???

Danman 10:38 am 21 Feb 08

Remembers the old QUIX ?
Is it gone ?

We used to get gorilla dogs from there back in the AM CB days of 1995

barney 10:30 am 21 Feb 08

Hell I’d want to see the photo’s! BTW, did you get your Hot Dog’s? Hope you did. But just for the record, Gorilla Dog’s are better 🙂 Anybody that remembers the old Qwix on Canberra Ave should remember Gorilla Dog’s 😀

Holden Caulfield 10:21 am 21 Feb 08

Good luck with that Aurelius. Keep the bastards honest!

V8 Berlina with a th 10:12 am 21 Feb 08

Speaking as a student of law,

Your vehicle crossed the white line, your tyres were on it. Crossing that line against a red signal is illegal. Doesn’t matter by how much or what type of car, the point is you did it. So it may be petty, but you did break the law.

However, precident has being set in NSW for drivers caught on speed/red light cameras where the date/time is incorrect on the image. Person where such inacuracy occured were able to avoid paying the fine, though it cost a bit to go to court.

The government relies on people paying the fine rather than paying to go to court.

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