AFTER learning his Nissan Patrol could supposedly accelerate faster than the space shuttle, Claus Salger began to doubt the accuracy of mobile speed cameras.

The retired engineer had been fined for doing 59km/h in a 50km/h zone near his Westmeadows home.

He knew he wasn't speeding but had no proof.

It was only after obtaining a copy of a Tenix speed camera manual through FoI that his defence became obvious.

By comparing police photograph of his 22-year-old 4WD with images in the manual and doing some simple calculations he worked out the speed.

"I had to have accelerated at 15,000km/h for my vehicle to be in the position it was photographed," Mr Salger said.

After successfully contesting his case, Mr Salger was asked by businessman John King to appear as an expert witness for his own speeding fine.

The pair realised early on it was almost impossible to beat a prosecution, which is why so few cases get to court.

So they used methods normally employed by the prosecution against any motorist brave enough to risk $5000 in legal costs to challenge an infringement notice.

The pair have studied the technical manuals of the cameras, obtained various operations and verifications manuals and Tenix's contract.

Their biggest triumph was getting a 20-minute look at a verifications manual. That document details how speed camera images are interpreted.

The magistrate in Mr King's court case ordered it to be produced but would not let them keep a copy.

When Mr Salger tried to get a copy through FoI, Victoria Police said it no longer existed.

The men beat their speeding fines using the speed camera operator's manual, carried by each Tenix employee when they set up a roadside camera.

It contains four photos, two each for vehicles snapped in the forward and away modes.

Two of the photos show the correct position of a vehicle and have ticks and two show vehicles in the incorrect position with crosses next to them.

In the away mode the manual says a vehicle should have just left the beam to be speeding and in the forward mode should have just entered it.

A driver can calculate if they were speeding by using the photograph supplied by the Victoria Police Traffic Camera Office and an acetate overlay.

Mr King and Mr Salger said drivers could determine the width of the beam by drawing two parallel vertical lines on the acetate, one 61 per cent from the left of the image and one 82 per cent from the left.

The space between the two lines is the radar beam width.

Drivers can then calculate if their vehicle is in the correct position by putting the overlay over the photograph.
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