Netherlands: 2640 Photo Radar Tickets Refunded
Dutch authorities refund $130,000 in tickets issued by speed cameras over accuracy concern.

Authorities in the Netherlands canceled 2640 tickets last week after the accuracy of a pair of speed cameras was put in question. The first camera issued 2576 of the invalidated fines on the Fokkerstraat in Assen, Drenthe between May 1 and September 15. After learning that the device had not been properly calibrated, the department asked the Central Judicial Collection Agency (CJIB) to cancel outstanding fines and issue full refunds worth over 100,000 Euros (US $130,000) to anyone who had already paid the ticket. A second camera on the N919 in Veenhuizen issued another 64 fines, now canceled, between July 11 and 30, 2008.

Both speed cameras were quickly recalibrated so that ticketing could resume without delay, as the Netherlands relies heavily on speeding tickets for revenue. The equivalent of one speeding ticket is issued to every licensed driver each year -- 11,662,981 speed camera tickets in 2008 according to the Central Judicial Collection Agency (CJIB) statistics. That number is down about one million from the 2007 total because a three-month police strike that hindered photo radar deployments.

The cameras made by the Dutch firm Gatsometer BV require periodic adjustments and checks to ensure accuracy. Gatsometer is the world's leading manufacturer of automated ticketing machine. Drenthe Police did not disclose whether a legal challenge had forced the refund. As a rule, Dutch authorities reveal as little information as possible about any citation. Motorists do not even receive a copy of the photographs that serve as the evidence of any alleged speeding violation. Instead, the vehicle owner must specifically ask to come to a police station during a restricted set of hours to view the photos.