Speed detection equipment tested in court
Please see below press release from Northumbria Safety Camera Partnership (LTI 20:20 is used for speed detection by the Wiltshire & Swindon Safety Camera Partnership)
17 February 2006
For immediate release
Speeding motorcyclist gets hard lesson about the cost of speeding
A motorcyclist caught at excessive speed on the A69 Nafferton Eastbound has had his appeal dismissed by the judge in Newcastle Crown Court. A mobile safety camera caught the motorcyclist travelling at 97 mph, 27 mph over the speed limit. Having already paid hundreds of pounds in fines and costs, Mr. Harris has had thousands of pounds of legal and expert witness costs, for both him and the prosecution awarded against him. The judge ruled that Mr. Harris would have to pay £4,555 in costs as he tried to undermine confidence in the speed detection equipment that police used and they had the right to show that it is effective and accurate.
Mr Harris was told to drop the appeal on expert advice, as the equipment was accurate after Mr Garratt, a prosecution expert witness had compiled a report, which supported the speed recorded by the device by measuring time over distance. However, the judge would not allow the appeal to be withdrawn within 3 days of the hearing and stated that he would hear the case and give judgement.
Having already pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the fine and costs at magistrates court, using legal aid, Mr Harris then decided to challenge the equipment that was being used by way of appeal in the Crown Court. Enlisting the services of Dr. M Clark, a road traffic and detector consultant, he tried to dispute that the LasTec LTI 20.20 laser speed measuring device was accurate. Although having admitted not seeing the camera enforcement sign, the enforcement vehicle or his speedometer, he claimed he was not speeding.
However, the prosecution enlisted expert witnesses, Mr. F Garratt, Managing Director of Tele-Traffic (UK) Ltd., who supplies the equipment and Mr. J Dunne, Technical Vice President of Laser Technology Inc. from America, regarded as one of the leading experts on pulsed laser technology. They challenged Dr. Clark’s tests carried out on the LTI 20.20 as he did not use the Home Office approved technology, which has to meet strict criteria. Mr Garratt had spent more than 55 hours compiling a report, which backed up the speed readings with time over distance and highlighted Dr. Clark’s inaccuracies concerning the equipment.
Jeremy Forsberg from Safe Speed for Life said, “This proves that our equipment is accurate and frivolous cases like this won’t stand up. Trying to undermine the work of the police who are trying to reduce casualties and then reneging is irresponsible. It is not acceptable for Mr. Harris to drive at those speeds and treat the roads like a racetrack. What is more, he admitted to not being aware of his speeds, which is irresponsible driving. This case shows that we are confident in that equipment used to enforce speed limits and that we will not tolerate this type of anti-social behaviour where people’s lives are put at risk for a thrill.”
The officer carrying out the enforcement said, “I’m glad this case is finally over. After accepting the fine, the guy said he wasn’t speeding. I can tell you, he was. Those speeds are just dangerous, not only for him, but other road users as well. This case has wasted a lot of people’s time and money. I hope the gentleman realises that he was excessively over the speed limit; he did break the law and posed danger to others. The equipment I use is accurate and is an important tool for ensuring people realise that they cannot put people’s lives at risk through excessive speeds.”
The stretch of road where the safety camera was in operation, the A69 at Nafferton Eastbound had collisions resulting in 2 people killed or seriously injured and 4 minor injuries on the road before the Northumbria Safety Camera Partnership went live in 2003. Since the partnership has gone live there have been no fatalities or serious injuries and no collisions resulting in minor injuries.
Mr Forsberg added, “The majority of motorcyclists are law abiding and it is people like him that give them a bad name. That’s unfortunate for the majority and the ones who stray over the limit and need to be made more aware of their behaviour. Excessive speeds like this are for the racetrack not the highway and this shows we are willing to go all the way to ensure that people slow down and stop endangering life. We will not hesitate to use this and other speed detection devices to ensure people realise they cannot speed. It’s a small price to pay for Mr. Harris, if it saves a life. People who lose loved ones because of speeding pay a much bigger cost.”
Note to editor:
Lastec 20/20 cameras employ sophisticated and accurate laser video technology. When the camera trigger is squeezed, it emits a rapid stream of tiny and completely harmless laser beams that bounce off passing vehicles and record their speed in 2/5 of a second—less than the blink of an eye.
The equipment is so accurate it can take a reading from just the wing mirror of a targeted moving vehicle, meaning that law-abiding motorists need not fear triggering the beam by mistake. By the same token, speeding motorists will not be able to claim that the beam was affected by another vehicle just in front, behind or at the side of their vehicle.
The cameras operate effectively in poor light conditions, including at night, and also operates in rain without the beam being refracted by water drops.
The equipment is calibrated daily, before and after each time it is switched on and is used by experienced, trained police officers.
Mr Francis Garratt LL.B is Managing Director of Tele-Traffic (UK) Ltd since the company was founded in 1992. Prior to this he has 35 years’ experience as a police officer and for much for that time was involved in traffic policing at all levels up to Chief Superintendent. Tele-Traffic supplies the LTI 20.20 laser speed measuring device and the Lastec Local video system to the UK Police Forces
Mr. Jeremy Dunne is Technical Vice President of Laser Technology Inc., Englewood, Denver, Colorado. He has twenty-year experience with this Company and is regarded as one of the worlds leading experts on pulse laser technology. He has led design teams for all the Laser based devices by the company and particularly the LTI 20.20 SpeedScope.
For more information contact:
Safe Speed for Life
Northumbria Safety Camera Partnership
01670 717 910
Why is it that 7 us states have banned the use of the lti 2020?
it seems like the uk courts are not interested, they are all in it together!