The Daily Telegraph – Thursday 18 November 2004
Should speeding motorists be able to avoid paying fines on a legal technicality?

By Harold Scruby, Phillip Gibson

SPEED is the greatest killer on our roads. Technology is the greatest weapon against speed.

Two decades ago, a police officer had to follow a motorist for 250m to book that person for speeding.

The chances of being caught were extremely low.

Today, technology has allowed authorities to book speeding motorists in a millisecond, virtually labour free.

And, rather than admit their guilt, speedsters are now bleating “revenue raising” like newborn lambs.

Road trauma costs the state $6 billion a year.

Revenue from traffic fines is about $200 million - a $5.8 billion shortfall - and it's a voluntary tax.

Speed cameras are life savers.

Isn't it extraordinary that you never hear the Luddites bleat that red light cameras are revenue raisers.

Because they feel their lives are at risk when other motorists run red lights.

Whatever the current legal technicality, we must insure the problem is fixed and we employ technology to make speeding as socially unacceptable this decade as drink driving was in the 1990s.

* Harold Scruby is the chairman of the Pedestrian Council of Australia

ONE of the basic principles of our system of law is that it is better for a guilty person to go free than for innocent people to be wrongly convicted.

Rather than rushing to fix a ‘loophole’ in the law, the Government should be doing whatever is necessary to make sure that speed cameras work properly and that motorists can be sure they are reliable.

The security code on the speed camera photos is there to ensure the integrity of the photo and that it has not been altered.

Instead of worrying about people escaping fines on technicalities, we should be worried about people who have had their licences taken away and livelihoods affected by faulty speed cameras.

The fact that the security code is wrong should be enough to concern anyone about the accuracy and reliability of these cameras.

The State Government raises millions of dollars in revenue each year with these speed cameras.

The very least they could do is to make sure they work properly. What questions is Mr Scully asking of his department and the RTA?

* Phillip Gibson is a criminal defence lawyer with Nyman Gibson Stewart

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