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Criminal Law Blog NSW

Speed cameras have been used in Victoria since the 1980s, as have cameras that are positioned to catch stop signal violations.

Victoria police use both fixed and mobile speed cameras.Fixed cameras are generally mounted on poles or other structures near the roadway. When a driver travels across two strips that are embedded in the roadway, a calculator determines the driver’s speed. If the driver is exceeding the speed limit, the camera takes a picture of the car and driver.

Fixed cameras are easy to spot. If you want to know where they are, the government of Victoria maintains a helpful website that lists their locations. At least one private website provides the same information.

Mobile speed cameras are more difficult for speeders to avoid. A mobile speed camera is basically a camera that is mounted to a radar gun. The operator takes speed readings of approaching cars using the radar. If a driver is speeding, the operator takes a picture.

Before 2013, drivers had a better chance of spotting mobile speed cameras and of slowing down before their pictures were taken. The rule formerly prohibited police from disguising cameras and from hiding them behind branches or signs or behind a car that has apparently broken down. The new rule continues to prohibit the deliberate disguising of cameras but allows camera operators to conceal themselves behind signs, posts, and bushes.

Police claim that the rule change promotes the safety of camera operators, although why a hidden camera operator is any less likely to be struck by a vehicle than a camera operator who is standing in plain view is unclear. Police cite a number of incidents in which camera operators have allegedly been “swerved at” but offer no evidence of any collision with a camera operator.

The Herald Sun reports that Victoria made more than $100 million in a recent year from fines imposed on speeders captured on a mobile speed camera. A skeptic might suspect that the police believe hidden cameras will catch more speeders and that writing more speeding tickets is their true agenda.

According to a Herald Sun investigation, Victoria police were hiding speed cameras even when the rule prevented camera operators from concealing their cameras. The rule change allows them to hide in the bushes without violating traffic enforcement rules.

In addition, the law formerly prohibited the use of speed cameras within 300 metres of the bottom of a hill unless the location had a history of accidents. The Herald Sun investigation alleged that the police often violated that rule by setting up cameras at the bottom of a hill. Cameras may now be used in those locations if the police deem no other location to be suitable for improving road safety.

Some drivers spot hidden cameras as they drive past them and warn oncoming drivers by honking their horns or flashing their lights. The law does not prohibit drivers from warning other drivers about speed traps. In fact, Traffic Superintendent Dean McWhirter told the Herald Sun that he approves of drivers warning other drivers to slow down.

If you are captured on a mobile speed camera, defenses are available that might help you avoid speeding penalties. Evidence obtained from a mobile camera is only persuasive if the radar was operated correctly. When two cars are near each other in adjacent lanes, questions sometimes arise about which car was speeding.

Radar signals can also be affected by large reflective objects that are nearby, including trucks.

If your licence is at risk because of a speeding infringement notice you received after your vehicle was captured on a mobile speed camera, you should talk to a lawyer about the possibility of resolving your case in a way that saves your driving privileges.

If you cannot afford to accumulate any additional demerit points and you receive a speeding ticket, you should contact a traffic lawyer.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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