Country Road Speeding Fine but it was Car in Front, Cops Won't Admit They Made a Mistake - Help!

Hi all,

Terrible thing happened to my wife just now. She has rung me up and said the cops pulled her over for speeding, even though she was on cruise control. It's a country road where the police drive along and ping people coming the other way, then turn around and catch up to you to pull you over.

Problem is, she wasn't speeding. The car in front of her was gradually getting further away from her, so clearly that was the one speeding. But they refuse to believe she had crusie control working, and started making excuses such as 'new cars are set 5km under' and 'perhaps you have different tyres'. She asked: if she was speeding and the car in front wasn't, why hadn't she caught up to it? They couldn't answer that one.

She said she even passed THREE other police cars on the way down, NONE of which pulled up even though she hadn't changed her speed. Still nothing - 'we can't speak for them'.

They refused to believe her. (She doesn't speed, in fact is always checking my speed!). They reckon: 'oh we know what someone who is speeding looks like'. By the end of it she could tall that one of them had his doubts, but he didn't question his mate who'd already written the ticket.

Any ideas on how we contest it? I know they have to 'configure' it or something.

Do we fight?


Thanks, seems like we may have a chance, whistle blowers do it for the money, magistrates take the word of cops over people and dash cams are the answer for the future!
Cheers all.

Poll Options expired

  • 7
    All of the above
  • 190
    Contest it
  • 2
    Write for more information or a cancellation
  • 6
    Write the newspaper


  • Go to court.

  • +91 votes

    Welcome to OzBargain. One of our Automotive specialists will be along shortly to advise you how to right this injustice. Or maybe not.

    • +32 votes

      Not without a mspaint pic they won't :D

      • I was going to say: to make it easier for us to assist you, pleasure ensure your mspaint is crude, hard to understand appears to indicate the other party was correct.

    • I don't understand why we have a forum, when people 'like' to make these comments. If it's of no interest to you to help or contribute, move on.

  • It wouldn't be the first time a cop lied.

    Nor a wife to a spouse.

  • If she is that adamant, then she is sure there is no proof. Challenge it in court. Without evidence, police will review the recordings and withdraw the fine.

    If there is proof and you go to court, be prepared for a whole lot of extra costs and potentially a criminal record (depending on speed).

    • +20 votes

      There won't be any recordings.
      Wife will get up in court: "I didn't do it." Evidence: none.
      Cop will get up in court: "She did it." Evidence: Radar log and calibration record.
      Judge will take a cop's word over a civilian's.

      • But there's no evidence it was her car, no photo, the only 'evidence' is that someone, somewhere, was recording doing that speed. Is this enough you think?

        • That's just how mobile radars work. They ping you, pull you over and fine you. Unless you've got a camera in the car at the time that shows your speedo is well under the limit, you're done.

          • +2 votes


            That's just how mobile radars work.

            If only digital camera technology existed so the radar gun could record what its target was at the time it made the reading…

            • @abb:

              If only digital camera technology existed

              It does. Present in ~99% of mobile speed camera vehicles and ~90% of fixed speed cameras. It's easy to accomplish when they're stationary and pointing in a single direction.

              The problem with Highway cars is it can, and may need to, obtain a reading from a 360 degree direction from the moving vehicle and possibly from a long distance away. Trouble is making a camera move, pan, zoom, focus and shoot as fast as the laser. Tricky.

              • @zeggie:

                obtain a reading from a 360 degree direction from the moving vehicle and possibly from a long distance away

                Yes, 360 degree cameras exist too.

                Trouble is making a camera move, pan, zoom, focus and shoot as fast as the laser. Tricky.

                That may not be the right problem to solve. 360 degree FoV can be obtained through stitching multiple cameras or using curved mirrors and other optics.

                I don't know enough about speed detectors to comment on how difficult the parallax issue may be to solve though. At worst, I would expect you could mount the camera and radar/lidar stacked atop each other and the reference photo could have a vertical line across the entire image indicating potential triggers.

                • @abb:

                  That may not be the right problem to solve. 360 degree FoV can be obtained through stitching multiple cameras or using curved mirrors and other optics.

                  True. But then the problem becomes $$$.

                  Fitting out all those cars wouldn't be an easy sell. Anything government, functional and currently providing the desired result, won't be upgraded except for extenuating circumstances.

                  • @zeggie: Very true. In the absence of some infallible record that shows what triggered the thing, I don't think it's fair to uphold a conviction based on the cop's opinion of which car it was.

                    If there's only one car on the road, sure. But if you're 1km away and a pack of 3 cars are an indistinct blur, nah, you gotta get something better. Maybe they can chase some number plates that expired because they sent the renewal notices to the wrong address instead ;)

                    • @abb: I've provided most of the material elsewhere for you to review. They have specific procedure for multiple targets. There's more material that isn't online.

                      They won't have bothered to pull her over if they were unsure.

                      They can pick off speeders on multi lane highways quickly and precisely and have been doing so since the 80's. The science is sound.

                      • +1 vote

                        @zeggie: I don't doubt the science of relative speed measurement, I doubt the human propensity to not realise one's own mistakes. I've been "completely sure" of many an erroneous belief in my time! (e.g. where I left my keys)

                        Thanks for the links, if you have any info about the always-running automatic multiple target detection machines, even just a manufacturer, I'd be interested. I'm really curious as to how the operators know which one of a group of distant cars is the correct target in such a system.

                        It's obvious with a "gun sight" type device (at least a laser one, if not a 12 degree spread radio one), but an "air traffic control" type display that I'm imagining such a system to use would be plagued with misidentification issues.

                        edit: just noticed in the manual the operator needs to ensure "Minimum of 200 metres between targets of similar size", as well as several other conditions. The problem is, of course, that the officers know the "correct" answer (it's listed in the book!) even if they may not have been 100% faithful to procedure on the day…

                        • @abb:

                          just noticed in the manual the operator needs to ensure "Minimum of 200 metres between targets of similar size"

                          That's no longer the case. Keep in mind that's an old manual for a 15 year old device. I don't even believe they are in use any more. I merely posted that particular link as it describes the checks and calibration in detail from an official source only.

                          The current tech used, as mentioned on my other post, is basically omni directional with chase and tracking features.

        • +35 votes

          The cops win, I got done years ago for using a mobile while driving. The cops checked the phone and there where no recent calls or text's it.
          Before it went to court they send you a letter with all the accusations. It said the cops were observing me while driving behind me, street name, direction and so on.
          Turned out their direction was for a one-way road going the wrong direction.
          Anyway, went to court, stated my case, the cop got up, "Sorry your Honour, we made a mistake" and picked a street nearby. Judge says you are a civilian, the cops are law enforcement officers, I choose to believe them. Upped the fine, lost a few more points and reduced my opinion of the police by about 50%

          • @Repi: Should have taken it to the county court

          • @Repi: Calls and texts arent the only thing you can do on your phone though…. using your phone period is illegal

            • @tablewhale:

              using your phone period is illegal

              That's not correct for all drivers.

              In Victoria, for example:

              Learner, P1 and P2 drivers must not use a mobile phone (hand-held or hands-free) for any function while driving (including while stationary but not parked).

              A fully licensed driver can use a phone to make or receive a phone call, to use its audio/music functions or perform a navigational (GPS) or intelligent highway vehicle system (in vehicle warning system) function but only if the phone:

              • is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle, or
              • can be operated by the driver without touching any part of the phone, and the phone is not resting on any part of the driver's body.

              All other functions (including video calls, texting, emailing, task management, photography, social media, shopping and share economy apps) are prohibited.


              • @DeepHorizon: I understand that - I was saying in the context of "But I didn't make or receive any phone calls or texts!" it does not matter because "Use" of phone doesn't pertain to just calls and texts, it can be anything as long as it's on the phone.

      • If that's true, that's pretty fked up.

        I already think our law enforcement is ineffective but having their word weighted more than a civilian would be appalling.

        I hope you're wrong.

      • Seriously? They don’t have the resources to have highest patrols out often enough, how can the afford to set bait cars?

        I need some evidence of this. And don’t just say a mate of a Mate told me once.

    • Definitely need some reference for this. This would stir quite substantial (and well deserved) resentment of the way our law enforcement is being run.

      • Wouldn't that be breaking the law if the bait car is speeding., so they should fine themselves as they're driving along!

        • Absolutely but I doubt that is true. There are too many police officers for such flagrant abuse of the law to stay a secret.

          • @tshow: Ah, but now that's not a good reason. Corruption and cops are normal. It's like entrapment of other sorts - fake drug dealers etc. What about all the planting evidence trials? Or the police links to organised crime? The corruption is small and large and world-wide and goes with the power they get.

        • There's nothing illegal about not maintaining a constant speed. Even if there was, they're police - they get exemptions for things like not obeying the speed limit, not using mobile phones, etc.

          • @ssquid:

            they get exemptions

            Only in the course of their duties. Driving a "bait car" (not going to debate whether they actually exist or not) likely wouldn't fall under that.

      • I got done for speeding by cops who had tailgated me into speeding. I was driving a friend's car. They knew the car from previous encounters.

        It happens.

      • Can report. It happened to me years ago. Car following me late at night approached very fast and then sat waaaaay too close on a Sydney motorway.

        I slowed down to let them pass, they slowed down. I sped back up to the speed limit, so did they. This repeated 3 more times before I sped up over the speed limit. Yep, lights and sirens from the tailgating car. It was cops trying to get me to do exactly that. I think most cops are good, but there are certainly some who aren’t.

        Booked me for 105 in a 90 zone then reduced to 92 in a 90 zone after I complained about their driving. They said I was going 92 when they initially approached. Assholes.

  • Can we get the cop to admit there were other cars on the road? So the only word they have is they are sure it was her car not the others. What if they lie about that too? (And yes, she could be makijng it up, but she was seriously upset. She HATES liars.)!

  • It's only a small amount over, and no demerits. What upset her the most is the blatant not admitting fault once she questioned it. Rather than consider they made a mistake, they just dug their heels in. Think that's what pissed her off the most, Well, that and being called a liar! I found a cool website that points out radars can get the wrong car when there's hills and such. She was going up a hill too!

    I know it's not like the US, where you just end up dead, but she said "if they lie about this, what else do they lie about?!"

    Ha ha ha. How about "Everything Ever"!

    • That's radar. These days they use lasers and newer models (if not all active duty models) also record footage with where the laser is pointed clearly marked on the video.

      • There was no footage, just a number on their dashboard. A video would be better, it might show the other cars (one in front of here and one behind). Hmm. I might look into the 'no video' angle. Maybe that's the key.

        • If they have video, they'll produce it in court and your wife will be liable for far more.

          • @tshow: Only if you believe them. Presumption of guilt? Seems you made up your mind already.

            • @Dono2000: You're the only one making a strong presumption.

              I said "if".

              Like I said in my first comment - if they have video, they'd accept your challenge in court. If they do not, they will withdraw the fine.

              • @tshow: Sorry, read it as liable meaning definite.

                Liable means Responsible for. So you meant to say COULD be liable, not WILL be liable.

                Cheers. But I think the video is our key, as it will prove they are tracking the wrong car. But they would have shown her the video then, no?

                • @Dono2000: When used within the same sentence, the "will" is predicated on the "if".

                  They don't necessarily have a playback devise to show her the video on the spot.

                              • @tshow: Hi all.

                                Didn't mean to come off as a clown, I found this forum after a web search on a similar topic where you seemed to help out.


                                I didn't run out of substance, just don't feel like arguing about grammar.


                                Like I said before, thanks for the advice on the the video. If they have one, no fine! If no video, well, it's our word against theirs I guess.

                                And I'm def going to buy a GPS friendly dash cam.

    • no demerits

      No demerit points for speeding?

  • How much was the fine?

  • This is a great reason to own a dashcam, if you were to contest it you could present the footage from the dashcam and they can work out the speed the vehicle is travelling from the footage.

    • Agree. I'm looking up dashcams this afternoon. How do you get one with a speedo in it though? How do they work out the speed just from video?

      • There're some dashcams with GPS built in which will record the speed and I think embed it into the captured footage, without it I think they can work it out based on scenery in the footage and distance between features (eg this tree to this pole is 50 meters and it took 3 seconds to travel that distance so the car would need to be travelling X KM/H)

        • +2 votes

          Your dashcam got a calibration certificate for its internal clock? ;)

      • Would a GPS with trip log function (for learner drivers) be useful? Have never used that function and I wonder if it would track time/ location/ speed/ etc

    • Not just that - a lot of dashcams have built-in GPS and will actually show your speed on the footage. That'd be pretty open and shut.

      • It's actually not, because if it comes down to it and the police do have video or evidence that they recorded your vehicle speed, your GPS dashcam footage holds a lot less weight to the court because it's not a "legally calibrated speed measurement device".

  • Cool. I want to get one because we travel a lot for work too.

  • Say nothing to police other than what you need to. Name, address, that kind of thing only. Blow into their machine or count to 10. Thank them for their time. Take the ticket if they issue a paper one and contest it. You will never get a police officer to rescind a ticket once the process has begun.

    Don't tell them anything they "want" to know, only tell them what they "need" to know. Don't argue or defend yourself there. Have a dash cam that records audio and document your interaction to paper when you get home. Tell your story to a magistrate, not a police officer.

    And then "A Current Affair" it…

  • Maybe it was a downhill section.

  • Was she driving downhill at the time? If she was and she had cruise control on there is a high chance that it could be travelling up to 5-8km/h higher. My car often go up to 3-8km/h over the speed limit that I set.

    If the car in front of her was pulling away that means both cars could be speeding. The cop won't be able to catch both cars so it's logical to catch the second car.

  • Unsure what state OP is in. I'm assuming the traffic stop was a highway police car.

    I've seen the tech they use in Vic. Omni directional radar. Always running. It can identify the speed of a vehicle 360 degrees from the highway car, they can ping your speed from any direction and it is insanely accurate. The system gets checked practically everyday and gets calibrated like clock work. It logs everything. All of this will be submitted in Court. Even if the calibration is out 1-2km, they've already knocked those kms off on the infringement notice (indicative speed).

    Once your wife's car is pinged they lock onto it and the second police officer verifies the target was correct as it approaches. It's like 2 button presses. It gets more accurate the closer the car gets. If there are multiple targets the radar will indicate the speeds of BOTH of the alternating targets - both the speed of both your wife's car and the car in front of her.

    So yes, they will be sure of the speed of your wife's car as they will know the speed of the car in front of her too.

    She asked: if she was speeding and the car in front wasn't, why hadn't she caught up to it? They couldn't answer that one.

    Both were probably speeding. They can't pull over more than one. Easier to pull over the car at the rear.

    Common police response to this question - You ever been fishing? You ever caught all the fish?

    Thanks, seems like we may have a chance, whistle blowers do it for the money, magistrates take the word of cops over people and dash cams are the answer for the future!

    You reckon your eBay dash cam GPS indicative speed is going to be considered over a very expensive radar system that is checked and professionally calibrated alongside a redundant system that logs and verifies the highway police car's speed at the time of the radar ping?

    • How do you know "The system gets checked practically everyday and gets calibrated like clock work"? Not saying I don't believe you, but with strong statements like that I always try to verify.

      • All radars are calibrated by a certified external org minimum once per year as per Road Safety (General) Regulations 2009.

        Officers check the particular radar's calibration certificate is in date and do a self check during their shift.

        Some light reading for you:

        Certified calibration yearly - Section 2.2
        Officer self checks performed at the beginning and end of each shift - Section 2.5.1-2.5.3
        Operation manual of a common highway car radar device - Tuning forks - Section 9.1

        I tend to just say "radar" in general but most of the devices used these days are actually LIDAR.

        DoJ know 100 odd Joe Bloggs are going to contest infringements each year so, besides the regulatory, legal and moral obligations to ensure they are calibrated, they always ensure they are calibrated to use the certificate and data in Court against those people :)

        • Thanks. In my book "self checks" are BS until proven otherwise, but I guess the yearly certification is enough to convince the magistrate.

          • @nfr: The self check involves tuning forks and is a simple and easy process to perform. The tuning forks themselves are also reviewed during the yearly certification process.

            Even then if everything was to be out of whack somehow the reported variance would only be about 1-3km/h and infringements (at least in VIC) reduce the alleged speed by 3km before issuing to throw that argument out the window.

    • Do you know what maximum distance it has?

      • The maximum working distance of the radar is 1800m the lidar is longer however neither is used operationally in NSW over 600m.

        Lidar is only used in stationary mode in NSW. Self-checks are to ensure the calibration hasn't been impacted and actually happen at the beginning and end as well as hourly through use in NSW

  • The car in front of her was gradually getting further away from her, so clearly that was the one speeding.

    You can also both be speeding for the above scenario to be true eg 120 vs 110kph.

    If 2 close cars are speeding, then they can pull over either car, and there no defense that other car was going faster.