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Ohio, Texas, Washington, Australia, Germany: Photo Ticket Accuracy Troubles

March 30, 2010

Ohio, Texas, Washington, Australia, Germany: Photo Ticket Accuracy Troubles
Red light and speed camera tickets in Ohio, Texas, Washington, Australia and Germany face problems with legality and accuracy. 

German speed  cameraThe Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia earlier this month heard claims that disgruntled former employees of the speed camera operator VIPAC had the capability of remotely adjusting threshold settings and issue automated citations to innocent motorists.

“Yes, the evidence is that the cameras could be turned on and off, the speed thresholds could be reset, so that is to say they could be set for 10km an hour and they take photos of everything,” VIPAC executive Daniel Aghion told the court, according to the Herald Sun newspaper. “We don’t know the intentions of (the) defendants. It could be industrial sabotage, it could be for competitive reasons, it could be to embarrass my client for some reason. It might be some vendetta, not against us but against the Department of Justice — we really don’t know why the defendants at this stage have done this.”

VIPAC asked the court for a warrant to seize the computers of the disgruntled employees.

In Houston, Texas motorists are receiving “red light running” tickets for turning right on a green light, KTRK-TV reported. At the intersection of Westheimer and the West Loop, a red right turn arrow is sometimes displayed while straight-through traffic has a green light, allowing the camera to issue a ticket. Confused motorists made the turn while looking at the green light.

In Seattle, Washington judges are angry with the city for continuing to issue citations with the red light camera location at 45th Street and Union Bay Place, even though judges have already ruled that the camera was set up in violation of state law. Officials told KING-TV that they intend to continue issuing the tickets because they were not officially notified of the ruling.

In East Cleveland, Ohio a mobile speed camera is issuing $95 tickets in front of Shaw High School where the limit is 20 MPH when the school zone lights are flashing. The lights, however, are broken and motorists are receiving tickets despite the lack of notice of a speed limit change, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

The German agency charged with verifying accuracy of police equipment (Landesamt fur Mess- und Eichwesen) earlier this month discovered that a set of twelve speed cameras in Erfurt had “software errors” that resulted in bogus readings. The Erfurt cameras have now been recalibrated, Ostthuringer Zeitung reported.

Another five Provida-brand mobile speed camera units in Saxony were found to be operating illegally. The devices had been repaired using parts lacking the required certification from Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt. Courts in Saxony began throwing out tickets because of persistent measurement errors, Bild reported.

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