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  #18 (permalink)   IP: 24.108.24.231
Old 2010-10-17
esprit888 esprit888 is offline
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Default Day in court

Well the wheels of justice do indeed turn slowly, but after just over a year of originally posting I had my day in court. I would like to say that everything in this post is solely my 'personal opinion' based on my experience with this particular ticket. I researched everything I could find in the year I had to wait and my opinion is that the entire lidar/laser system of ticketing motorists in my province is seriously flawed. Many books on the systems employed are very useful but the bottom line is that Lidar has its limitations and the primary, but not sole, cause of errors is in its incorrect use. I managed to go on a ride along and observed whilst numerous erroneous tickets were issued (980 meters whilst sweeping from left to right through trees, come on!) we played around and managed to get the usual rock traveling at 60 and sweep error is so easy to obtain without error readings I am surprised that anything over 1000 feet is even considered. The New Jersey case law (Judge Stanton ruling) is actually highlighted and forms a part of the powerpoint presentation for the officers training yet its routine to ticket over 2000 feet. Now those with interests in the devices will no doubt heap scorn on the operators however the manufacturers themselves are deliberately vague regarding distance limitations for hand held readings (obviously one persons steady aim is not the same as the guy who has had his 4 double espressos that morning) A look at the UL LRB manual shows little to no mention of beam divergence and I attended over 12 traffic court sessions prior to mine where each and every officer testified (reading from a prepared traffic court checklist) that the device is ‘vehicle specific with a beam width of 0.5 of a meter at 1km’, which is totally false at 3 milliradians. I beat my ticket without too much of a problem because I educated myself about the devices, and whilst I am obviously pleased with the outcome I came away feeling as though I have more questions than answers. Where I live has just introduced the toughest speeding laws in the country, If you are caught travelling at more than 40 KPH over the posted speed limit your vehicle is immediately seized and impounded for one week, and the fine is a minimum of $500. Factor in the towing and impound charges, your taxi home, loss of income, fine and increased insurance and you are looking at a 5 thousand dollar bill. Some would say it’s deserved if you were indeed exceeding the limit by 40 or more, but the way the readings are taken many are not. The law in my province is very clear with regards to the start/end of shift testing accompanied by a test before and after a ticket is issued but in reality this is seldom practiced (even though it is supported by case law) It would appear, in my opinion, that the police and courts are aware that the use of lidar results in a far from flawless reading but that as long as it results in far more convictions than not guilty verdicts then it remains both a deterrent and a revenue generator.
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