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
Dono

Edit:
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

Comments

  • -1 vote

    Wish I had more than 5 negative comments for some of the drivel posted on this thread

  •  

    The system isn’t fair. Request to have it withdrawn in first instance, you might get lucky.

    If you challenge it in court, just represent yourself. Otherwise you will be paying for a lawyer each time they turn up at court and the police can say they aren’t ready and seek a new date. This happened to me three times. Police have lawyer on retainer, cost me money each time.

    It was infuriating to have to pay costs, lawyers and the fine when you are innocent, but not much you can do. It will play out exactly as ssquid above says.

    • +1 vote
      1. Need a reason to request a withdrawal
      2. OP wasn't the driver. He cannot appear for his wife.
      3. Police don't have lawyers "on retainer".
  • +6 votes

    You've left out the two MOST important details:

    1) How fast was she going?

    2) How fast did the police allege she was going?

    All police cars have cameras everywhere recording everything going on and it'll be clear exactly which car is being pinged. If it's not your wife's car, it will be clear. My advice is to say you intend to challenge in court, they will send you an evidence brief or sometimes even drop the charges if they realise they don't have adequate evidence.

    In general, you don't lose anything by going to court. The worst that can happen is you plead guilty and you have to pay a bit in court fees. You might even get a sympathetic magistrate. I had a similar case where I was accused of speeding but I genuinely thought I hadn't been. I requested the evidence, it turns out the electronic speed signs did drop by 20 km/h because of an upcoming hazard and I just missed it (my bad). I pleaded guilty in court and explained how I have a good driving record and am otherwise a responsible person who has never been in trouble with the law. The magistrate kept the demerit points but completely dropped my monetary fine, so I ended up having to pay nothing.

    Even though I was pretty lucky, a mate of mine was even luckier. He got pinged by police sitting around on the side of the road. He requested to take it to court and they wrote to him that they would be dropping the charges. Obviously they didn't have the evidence.

    •  

      All police cars have cameras everywhere recording everything going on

      In VIC and NSW they don't. They are generally triggered manually or when they light up the red and blues.

  • +5 votes

    Please stop reading conspiracy theories about the police. There's a good chance your partner was in fact speeding as well as the other car.
    The fact that she has said she was on cruise control and not "watching her speed" would lead me to believe that.

    Being on cruise control does not mean you're doing the speed limit. Cruise control only sets a speed, If the car is going downhill, it will creep over the set speed.

    You can fight anything in court. Best of luck
    Otherwise :

    https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/70291

    •  

      That post is horribly out of date. Criteria has changed a bit since then: https://www.police.vic.gov.au/official-warnings

    • -1 vote

      Calling it a conspiracy theory doesn't invalidate the fact that the police are largely corrupt, incompetent cowards who believe the law applies to everyone else. The fact that they have a state-sanctioned monopoly on the use of violence should somehow make us feel safe.

      • +2 votes

        Largely corrupt? Do you have any evidence to back that up?

        Try living in the UAE, Africa, SE Asia or any other country where the police are paid a pittance and rely on kickbacks and corruption to get by. Or the USA where violence is so common, everyone is numb to it.

        We're lucky to have well paid, well trained and well supplied police. We complain every time an election rolls around and the opposition wants to make us feel unsafe, but other than that the systemic problems that most countries have with them are not an issue here.

    •  

      Being on cruise control does not mean you're doing the speed limit. Cruise control only sets a speed, If the car is going downhill, it will creep over the set speed.

      The last few cars I have owned will keep your speed when you are going down hill by changing gears or breaking.

  •  

    Obviously the people here know what they are talking about otherwise they wouldn’t be providing information that they can not substantiate……

    The courts (depending on where you go) do not necessarily believe the police over the person who allegedly committed the offence. I have first hand evidence of this having fought the police over an interpretation of where full speed was allowed on a JetSki on a lake.

    Infact in my case the court officer who called me and asked about the case suggested that I had a good case and when I turned up so did the local police officer! Prior to that I was going to plead guilty.

    Go into the court with all your evidence, your history and dress well. Be polite and respectful and the judge is very likely to accept your history as a valid defence……. this is providing there is no history of speeding, you will also most likely get a better outcome in a smaller court, as you mentioned country road so maybe it’s a regional court you would be summoned too.

    The police officer who fined you is not going to be at the court on the day, it will be a duty officer who has a summary of the information written down and will not be able to elaborate on the alleged offence.

    • +1 vote

      Except in this case I dont think the OP has any evidence other that the other car pulling away while OP was on cruise control. Both could have been speeding for all we know. Dont like their chances without hard evidence such as dashcam footage.

    • +1 vote

      Go into the court with all your evidence, your history and dress well. Be polite and respectful and the judge is very likely to accept your history as a valid defence

      That's provided you actually have a defence. OP's wife has nada.

      The police officer who fined you is not going to be at the court on the day,

      Not true. They regularly attend.

  •  

    1 - cruise control is not 100% accurate in almost all cars. Tyre pressure, tyre size, and other factors can throw them out.

    2 - cruise control in most cars does not lock the car at a specific speed - they will slow down going up hills and speed up going down.

    3 - if using a camera, police will book every car speeding. If not, they will pull over the car that is speeding the most. If a group of cars are speeding but by about the same, then they will randomly pick one.

    4 - the units police use are very accurate

    5 - best option is to acknowledge you must have been speeding, say you will be far more vigilant in the future, and ask based on prior history to have the fine reduced or waived…..

    • -3 votes

      Cruise control is accurate. The speedometer is not. The cruise control works of the speedometer. If you know your true speed relative to the speedometer, you can still have accurate speed.

      • +1 vote

        Firstly sorry about the bolding above - was writing using mobile and did a n00b error by using the hash character in front of the numbers that in turn bolded everything. Ooops.

        But yes, indeed the cruise control on most modern cars uses the speedo. The issue is as you note that the speedo is not always accurate. For example, this can be because of things like the tyre pressure. The speedo generally works out the speed based on the number of revolutions of the wheel per second. As I noted, if the tyre pressure is high or low, this throws out that calculation. Even worse can be if different wheels/tyres are put on the car than the speedo is calibrated for.

        A good idea at some point is to find one of those speed test readers on some highways so you can check your actual speed versus what's on the car speedo. Or you can use the markings on the road on most highways to time yourself. Or you can use the gps in your mobile or (if you have one) dashcam. However you do it, it's always a good idea to try to check what your actual versus displayed speed is - once you know that, indeed you can more accurately set your cruise control.

        •  

          I reckon phone GPS is sufficiently accurate. Whatever the phone says, factor in 2kmph under and this should be very safe for most people.

    •  

      Your Honor! My tyres were bald so I had to hurry to the tyre shop! I will fix the brakes when the next budget will allow me!

    • +1 vote

      While I disagree with your use of bold text, you make very valid points.

      •  

        Yeah - my bad re bold. Was responding on mobile and used the hash character that bolded everything. Someone replied before I spotted that, so couldn't fix!

  • +1 vote

    It sounds like you were in the upper/hunter and met good ole smithy. He who has literally ticketed his own mother.

    Cruise control fluctuates speed, easily by 10kph. There is no guarantee the set speed is the maintained speed.

    That being said, if it was smithy, contest it even if she was in the wrong, he is a dog.

    If she is adamant, request the proof. If they cannot prove she was speeding, the ticket shouldn’t be able to stand.

  • +1 vote

    Honestly you think judgement of a civillian is more accurate than a radar?

    Also most ppl when the put on cruise control aim at say the speed limit, so you may in fact be going few kms over when downhill etc.

    sHE COULd have been on a downhill segment, and why she couldnt catch up to the other car- maybe both were speeeding?

    Best to just pay it and move on…

  • +1 vote

    Unless you've got bundles of free time just pay it and move on. Life is too short for dealing with shit like this.

  • +4 votes

    "A terrible thing"

    I think you need to redefine what a terrible thing is :D

    And as others have mentioned, most likely your wife is a big liar and is just looking to blame someone else for her mistake. No big deal, we've all been there.
    You married her, pay the fine!

  •  

    I personally never use cruise control as I find they do a terrible job of keeping the car to stick to the limit you've set. They have probably improved with newer cars but mine have always pushed past 110km/h going downhill which will land you a fine if there's a camera nearby. I used to have a one in my Megane that would limit your speed if you went over the set amount (say 105km/h) which was handy if you're travelling long distances and would occasionally creep over the limit.

    Definitely contest the fine if she was positive she wasn't speeding, but a few years ago I was just cruising along behind a couple of speeding cars as they were pulling away and a cop did a u-turn and pulled me over. I was doing 119 in a 110 zone and copped the fine. Couldn't believe it at the time, but definitely makes sense that it was much easier for him to get me than the other drivers and not at all an excuse for me to be speeding.

  •  

    Imagine if you had a dash cam that records speed. Would be so cut and dry then

  • +1 vote

    Shame she didn't have a jammer device… /s

  •  

    Explain all this in court

    Tell them what the cruise control was set at and what the alleged speed was and ask the judge to explain.

  • -2 votes

    So much rubbish on this thread.

    Cruise control in every car I've been in does not apply the brakes. It only accelerates the car gently to the set speed. Which is why going down hill your speed can creep up.

    Your wife needs an overspeed alert. These use to be common as fitted instruments but in the age of GPS, people tend to buy a GPS that has the feature. (As an aside, GPS is inaccurate for position but for short timeframes the error is consistent, so unless it is faulty or poorly made, GPS is very accurate for speed).

    I would ask for leniency based on her record but wouldn't push this to court.

    (Oh and please stop quoting law in VIC and NSW when OP has stated he and his wife live in WA - I presume some of those comments were made before he clarified though).

    •  

      Can't speak for other makes but any Commodore from the last 20 years cuts the fuel injectors if an increase in speed with a closed throttle is detected, i.e. it automatically applies engine braking on hills.

      •  

        How effectively? I had a VS Berlina Wagon and it would always creep over the set point downhill. That was a built in cruise control so not an after market issue. Before that I also owned a VN with the oversized bus driver steering wheel and it was no better. Also owned Ford EF and now own BAII and neither of those brake enough to stop it creeping over the speed limit. Wife's KIA carnival no better, nor my mother's Corolla. The EF had an after market cruise and speed alert. So either I had 4 defective vehicles or if you're relying on cruise control to stay under the speed limit you're probably speeding.

        •  

          Annoyingly effective, I find the deceleration (especially on steep downhills) often makes me tilt forward hard enough to engage the seatbelt restraint. If I was manually braking I wouldn't be using as much pressure.

          •  

            @ssquid: That's not typical in my experience at all, and I bet there is a decent chance I could pull Commodore owner's manuals that warn that cruise won't keep you under the speed limit.

          •  

            @ssquid: https://mechanics.stackexchange.com/questions/27001/does-cru...

            "There are two type of cruise control, passive (normal) and adaptive (has other names)

            Passive cruise control targets a speed, it reduces throttle position to slow down, but if engine braking is less than the effect of a steep downhill, the car will gain speed. This type of cruise control is not integrated with the braking system.

            Adaptive cruise control uses sensor(s) on the front of the car to determine the distance to the next car, generally you set a target speed (and sometimes following distance), and the car will do this speed if there is space ahead, in traffic it will reduce the speed to maintain the gap from the car ahead, and can brake if required."

    • +1 vote

      My cars have radar cruise control. It does slow the car down.

    •  

      Lol you must not have been in a half decent car. My 5yr old mazda 3 applies brakes.

      •  

        See above. 2 Commodores, 2 Falcons, a Kia Carnival and a Corolla.

        But a 5 year old car isn't old. The newest car I have ever owned was 5 years old.

  •  

    It's written on the ticket

  • +2 votes

    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.

    I, can answer that one…
    The officer doesn't know whether the car in front was speed (nor is it at all relevant to your wife's speeding) . A car ahead speeding 20km over, does not make it then legal for you (or anyone) to go 10km over, just because the other car is going faster.

    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'.

    Did your wife identify that those particular police cars had speed radar equipment installed ? I'm pretty sure that the average police car is not equipped the same as a specialist highway patrol car. It was likely the car that pulled you over was not just the regular type police car, probably a specialist car and officer has specialist duties. ie. The other 2 or 3 police cars might have been on their way to a serious domestic violence incident, they don't stop on the way for someone doing 10km over, whereas the road patrol vehicle has time (and a duty) to stop people committing road and traffic offences.

    even though she was on cruise control

    Sounds like the officer involved trusted his equipment in his vehicle (which he uses every day, and is known to be accurate) , rather than trusting your wife's vehicle's equipment and setup (cruise control systems are known to be unreliable in completely preventing speeding, especially if tyre size is changed) . When is that last time the cars speedometer and cruise control was fully tested and checked ?
    Maybe your cars speedo is off, maybe your cruise control is playing up.
    Is the officer really supposed to believe that the more likely scenario is that his equipment and his readings are wrong, with all the expensive equipment those highway patrol cars have inside. Rather than the much more likely scenario, an issue with your car (and/or your wife was accidentally speeding) .

    whistle blowers do it for the money

    Haha, since when do whistle blower do well financially ? LMAO. I'm sure the vast majority of 'whistleblowers' , suffer professionally and financially due to them bringing things to light, which the people in power want to cover up.

  •  

    We got pulled up on a dusty country road in SA for doing 5km over (limit 120km/hr), cop turned around and caught up with us. My partner knew he was doing over so admitted to it and apologised. Cop insisted at least thrice during the conversation that we check the recording to verify that we indeed overspeeding. So I would say, if no proof was offered to be seen, they probably don't have it so contest it.

  • +1 vote

    Is this going to go the usual way? Mods close off topic and we never hear back about what happened?

  • +1 vote

    Contesting will lead to a conviction (against her, because she has no proof and they are police)

    This will appear on her national police check for the next 10 years

    It will also incur court costs

    I was in a similar situation, judge sided with the police based on zero evidence and a recent national police check confirmed it

    Since Ozbargain is about saving money, save the money and the headache and just pay

    • +1 vote

      "This will appear on her national police check for the next 10 years". Please correct me if I'm wrong, the record will be there forever. I got a friend who was fined in 196x and 197x on his National Police Certificate.

  •  

    And the judge will challenge you by asking if you want to summon the experts of speed cameras to the court for explanation by you paying all their flight tickets and accommodations.

  •  

    Depends on your car, it may have a record of your trip as well. Some luxury cars seems to have GPS map that marks your history.

  •  

    It is bullshit that magistrates always take the side of the police, they do not and I am evidence of that…… if you have a case and you are of good character and standing, as well as not rocking up to the court in Thongs and chewing gum while you are on the stand then you have a good case.
    The convicting Officer is rarely in the court when you are summoned so all they have is a statement read by the police office on court duties, as soon as you dig deeper than the statement the game changes.

    If your wife is adamant that she was in the right then take it to court and good luck.

    I actually found with mine that even the local police were not inside with the officer who had given me the ticket so you don’t know until you try.

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