Speed Camera Detection Using GPS

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    From Today Tonight

    Catching out speed cameras

    REPORTER: Glenn Connley
    BROADCAST DATE: November 19, 2002

    A new device called the Road Angel is designed to save your life, as the name suggests, but this little piece of satellite technology could save more than your life - it could save you a fortune.

    The man behind the Road, Craig Morrison, says it's quite simple: attach a box to your dashboard and it beeps when you approach a fixed speed camera or an accident black spot.

    "It's a simple GPS device which gives you advance warning of speed cameras," he said.

    "The government have placed traffic cameras - fixed cameras - in areas that are sensitive to speed, dangerous areas. It also alerts you to all of those, of course ultimately it can save demerit points, loss of licence, a fine."

    Taxi driver Mike Burridge says with the current squeeze on demerit points, the Road Angel could save his licence and livelihood.

    "I think it'd be a great insurance policy for some people here who are very protective of their point system on their licences," he said.

    The device is not a radar detector but is instead linked via satellite to a frequently updated database, which means it cannot save you from mobile speed cameras.

    But another radar expert says he can.

    Doctor Wolf Garwoli says, quite simply, the way police use speed cameras is wrong and it is at odds with the manufacturers' advice, their own manuals and the National Measurements Act.

    "What we have is a system that is unjust. I think it's a denial of basic human rights," he said.

    "You must comply with the measurements act, otherwise you get fined or you go to jail. The police departments are refusing to go down that path, because they think they're a state government body, therefore they can do what they like and this is just absolutely wrong."

    Dr Garwoli says he has been the expert witness in numerous cases defending drivers against speeding charges.

    He makes the extraordinary claim that he gave evidence in a court case where police admitted they regularly use speed cameras that are misaligned by 10 per cent.

    "If this in fact is the case, then the government should refund all speed camera fines in the last 10 years," he said.

    Geoff Leigh is transport spokesman for Victoria's State Opposition.

    His speed camera beef is a recent reduction in tolerances.

    Where motorists were once given up to 10km/h grace, they are now fined at just 3km over the limit and this move also is being considered in other states.

    "I call them cash registers. That's what they are and I think there's a great deal of anger out there," Mr Leigh said.

    "Every expert that I have spoken to so far - and I have spoken to half a dozen that have knowledge in these areas - they are saying the same things, that the tolerances being set on these speed cameras are not accurate enough to be able to do it."

    Until recently, Geraldine Horan enjoyed an unblemished driving record but in the last six weeks, she has been caught four times - three times for being just 4km over the limit.

    "Three kilometres is definitely too low. I think the experts are saying it, I think everybody who's on the road knows that," she said.

    "I was very angry because I work pretty hard and I'm up for $500 worth of fines and I have four points from my licence."

    Mr Leigh says police should not chase people such as Ms Horan.

    He fears traffic policing now revolves almost totally around speed cameras, right across the country.

    "You don't see the police in the backstreets now, chasing the hoons," he said.

    "They're on the major roads and we get people constantly saying, 'drive around in your local streets around here now and you see black mark tyres all over the place'.

    "Why? Because police aren't in those areas any more, they're out on the major roads, sadly, being revenue-raisers."

    Dr Garwoli says it has been proven in court that 128 different factors can affect a speed camera or radar's accuracy, not to mention a car speedometer's accuracy.

    He says anyone caught for driving between 3km and 10km over the limit could well have been fined unfairly.

    "Police must check for radio interference before they take radar readings and frequently they do not," he said.

    "And the way they get away with it is by bluffing their way through a court case."

    Dr Garwoli believes people are being wrongly booked.

    "I have no questions about it," he said.

    "I think we've got to a stage where the threshold for detection has been lowered so much that we now have people who are incorrectly booked and this is absolutely, totally wrong."

    As for the Road Angel, it may be legal but it does not come cheap, at $995 including GST.

    Mr Morrison says he does not expect any complaints from police or governments but with $1 billion a year at stake in fines, the device could be a windfall for motorists.

    "Cameras are there to save lives, not to raise revenue, so from our point of view, everybody endorses what we're doing," Mr Morrison said.
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