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  • How a Coast man beat speeding fine: Driver challenges roadside radar accuracy
  • 05/11/2015 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: Bill ( 1 article in 2015 )
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POLICE have withdrawn a speeding charge after a driver was about to present evidence alleging a critical failure in the operation of roadside radar guns.

Gordon Wright, a 64-year-old retired electronics engineer with the RAAF, had pleaded not guilty to driving at 67km/h in a 60km/h zone on the Smith St connection road.

Mr Wright had left his Gaven home about 3.30pm on April 2 and accessed the motorway in wet conditions as he attempted to drive north along the Pacific ­Motorway for a school ­appointment at Ormeau.

Explaining his decision to fight the charge, Mr Wright said he had a perfect driving record for the past 48 years apart from being fined for a U-turn and a speeding infringement for overtaking a truck.

“In both cases I did, in fact, inadvertently break the law, so I paid the fines,” Mr Wright told the Gold Coast Bulletin. “In this case, I’m not guilty.”

In a letter to the Department of Main Roads and Transport, Mr Wright wrote that he had 20 years as a specialist in tactical radar systems and laser-guided weapons and was not going to question the accuracy of the devices used by police.

Nerang resident Gordon Wright.

“So the questions is – how could such a mistake occur?” Mr Wright told the department.

Just before leaving home, he said there had been a heavy downpour and he began using his windscreen wipers due to spray from the vehicle in front of him.

“I remember seeing the roadside mobile laser unit and I checked my speed which was displaying exactly 60km/h,” Mr Wright wrote.

“Laser speed detection equipment works by sending series of light pulses from a device and bouncing that signal off a target vehicle and measuring the distance it travels in set time.

“Poor weather can affect the accuracy of the radar and laser-based speed detection required … as water drops are reflective.”

The operating guidelines for the speed guns used by police notes that “rain absorbs and scatters the signal”, reducing the range and can possibly resulting in a reading being obtained from road water spray.

If the radar gun is switched to “weather mode”, the unit will not accept any readings below the minimum distance of 61 metres.

Mr Wright is upset he never got to prove police wrong in court about a speed camera fine

“The distance the alleged infringement occurred at, according to the photograph (provided of his car), was 32 metres,” Mr Wright wrote.

He alleged the operator had not switched the device to “weather mode”.

At the hearing in the Southport Magistrate’s Court on Monday, a witness for the prosecution failed to appear and an expert witness sought by Mr Wright was not contacted.

Magistrate Catherine Pirie told Mr Wright the charge had been dismissed and when asked about costs, replied that “You don’t get costs” if you represent yourself.

Outside the court, Mr Wright who had a folio containing his evidence was furious he could not present his case which would have alleged operator failure.

“They know the limitations of the system – they’ve failed,” he said.

Police were contacted for comment but did not ­respond.


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