Laser gun at bottom of a hill

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gooddriver
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:36 pm

Laser gun at bottom of a hill

Postby gooddriver » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:16 am

Hi Sean
I am helping a friend to post this question as i told her about you and she registered twice but could not receive the activation emails. So i thought i can help to post this question to help her out as she is pretty stressed out.

This is what she wrote:

"I have been given an infringement notice for exceeding speed limit in a 80km/hr zone. My speed was caught by a mobile laser gun by a police officer along Mt Buller Road (from Mansfield heading to Mt Buller). This journey was my first trip in my life driving through these roads, and I have recently moved interstate relocating from Queensland.

As I was pulled over by a police officer, I was shown a laser device which recorded the speed of my vehicle, and a distance of at less than 200m past the 80km/hr speed sign.

The aforementioned 80km/hr speed sign is located at the top of a hill on a slight bend after a 15km long stretch of 100km/hr zone. I cannot help but believe this speed trap was set up in a highly questionable spot and this operation conducted in a manner to entrap drivers who are unfamiliar with roads in this particular area.

The police had set up their laser gun spot within a compound of a CFA shed at the foot of a hill less than 500m away from its first 80km/hr sign; this location being after a 15km extension of 100km/hr . It is also found that there were multiple 80km/hr signs to warn people to slow down once a driver passes bottom of this hill and CFA shed approximately 1km away. If this operation was carried out for the purpose of safety in the area, then there should have been more signs installed to forewarn drivers to slow down; alternatively to be fair, this operation should have been set up at a spot past the multiple 80km/hr signs for drivers to slow down.

After a brief discussion with the police officer who wrote out the summon, he claimed numerous times that I was approaching a town and should be driving at 80km/hr. This contradicts with road warning signs as there were none to be found within this vicinity of the township. I am not convinced that safety is the intention as it is obvious that pre-emptive measures of mounting up safety signs which is known and proven to prevent hazards was not done here.

The measured distance is 10km from the last 100km/hr speed sign to the first sign 80km/hr speed sign. The spot where the 80km/hr sign was located, a driver is expected to hit the brakes to achieve decreasing speeds immediately from 100km/hr to 80km/hr in less than 200m when unfamiliar with the road conditions.

I consider this police operation has been designed to unfairly entrap unsuspecting drivers. The lack of speed signs to caution drivers to slow down when approaching an important town demonstrates inadequate warning. If safety is high on agenda for this area (as claimed by the police on duty), I strongly believe safety signs must be installed to convey message to slow down and warn drivers who are unfamiliar with the road.

I am seriously wanting to bring it to court as the fine results in 1 month suspension and i need the car for work. But before i do that and write a Notice of Objection, i appreciate your advice. Is there an allowable distance between a laser gun and its object, if yes, what is it? Are police allowed to set up mobile speed cameras anywhere without giving warning signs? Is it fair for the police to set up their "booth" at the bottom of a hill 500m away from the first 80km/hr sign after a long stretch of 100km/hr zone with no signage for about 10km until the first 80km/hr sign? Should i bring it to court?

Thanking you in advance, Sean."

Chef2
Posts: 74
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Re: Laser gun at bottom of a hill

Postby Chef2 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:08 pm

I know that area well, the Merrijig CFA station. It wasn't a mobile camera as you state it was a laser (which you also identify).

THe court will pay no regard to your friends allegations of "unfairness about safety" or any other peripheral matter. If you read through these forums Sean has identified on a number of occasions that this will get you nowhere. Knowing those roads and the number of people detected speeding on them, the local Magistrate is not going to be too impressed with speeders on it either, ask Sean about how many trips he does up there. I've seen speeds of 180+ and a lot of them are internationals.

Your friend had over 500m which you claim to slow down to 80 and there is the township area there, as small as it may be, but there are some great blind corners and undulating road which requires caution, not to mention the numerous Toorak Tractors dumping large wads of snow into oncomming traffic. From memory there are at least 2-3 sets of signs. The first as you start to come down the hill into Merrijig, a second set about half way down and then another set before the pub, SCHOOL and town hall.

To answer your embedded questions:
Police are NOT required to advertise anywhere that they are conducting operations/put signs up

The laser wont return a reading if its not a clear solid lock between in and its object. Your questions of "is there an allowable distance between the laser and its object" is only determined by the laser, its location, the clear view to its target etc. On country roads its not uncommon to see readings out past 500 metres.

Is it fair to set up a "booth" - well you probably already know my sentiment on this one.

Should you bring it court depends entirely on your friend, how much are they willing to pay for a "chance" at saving their licence. Knowing the members at Mansfield HWP who do this spot day in, day out, they know their stuff and you would be pushing an up hill battle.

2185xx
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Laser gun at bottom of a hill

Postby 2185xx » Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:08 pm

sounds like your friends out of luck, had the car been pinged within 100m of the sign you could of had an argument, but sounds like they where twice that distance away which is the way the game is played. if they where really on the job i'm sure that they would have reported the problem of the signs poor possitioning long ago. not

Chef2
Posts: 74
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 4:04 pm

Re: Laser gun at bottom of a hill

Postby Chef2 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:24 pm

rustyone wrote:sounds like your friends out of luck, had the car been pinged within 100m of the sign you could of had an argument, but sounds like they where twice that distance away which is the way the game is played. if they where really on the job i'm sure that they would have reported the problem of the signs poor possitioning long ago. not


Thats based on the premise that the signs are poorly placed.... Which last time I was up there, they're not.

gooddriver
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:36 pm

Re: Laser gun at bottom of a hill

Postby gooddriver » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:53 pm

Thanks guys for the advice and tips.... But there really was only one 80km/hr sign on top of the hill all the way down and past the CFA shed..then a few multiple 80kmhr signs pop up after that long straight stretch like 500m away from the spot where the cops were.
She actually took a video of the whole road as she thought it was pretty unfair to catch drivers at the bottom of a hill immediately after the 1st 80km/hr sign. Shouldn't the cops set up their booth like 1km away after the mutiple 80km/hr signs instead? cos that is actually where the school, and town was being approached.

Cheers

Hardy
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Re: Laser gun at bottom of a hill

Postby Hardy » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:18 pm

she thought it was pretty unfair to catch drivers at the bottom of a hill immediately after the 1st 80km/hr sign


It might be. But that is irrelevant. The magistrate just decides whether or not the law was broken. If the law is unfair,then complain to your local MP.

gooddriver
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:36 pm

Re: Laser gun at bottom of a hill

Postby gooddriver » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:16 pm

This is her response:

The detection device shot speed at less than 180m away from the FIRST 80kmph sign after a 15km stretch of 100kmph.

They set their camp out 500m away to aim at drivers less than 300m away from their spot. Simple calc says this is approx 150m after speed sign.

Bloody hell if drivers are known to be speeding around blind corners, you would give plenty warning to slow them down. Reality and good obvious sense says more signs will alert drivers and improve safety. Clearly NOT demonstrated here; as mitigating hazards are to remove hazards by completely remove the bend, or least of all provide adequate warning (more than normal unhazardous spots); again, none of the above carried out.

I cannot believe authorities are allowed to throw weight around like this..??? This is definitely NOT the fair go Oz I know of.

Sad n disappointed

Hardy
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Re: Laser gun at bottom of a hill

Postby Hardy » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:53 am

If you got a one month suspension, then you were going more than 105kmh. So that's an offence even if the 80 sign was not there. If you got pinged for doing 85 in the 80 you would have a better reason to whinge, but >105 in the 80 is hard to turn a blind eye to. So many people speed through there the police are busy enough focusing solely on those doing 100+ in the 80. If you feel enforcing the law is not fair, in 1935 the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court said: "It is not part of the duty of the Bench to regard the matter as a sporting contest; it must use its powers in a proper way to uphold the law." Your complaint is really a political one, not a legal one. i.e. if you feel more warning signs are required, then write to the authority responsible for erecting the signs, or run for government.

Should i bring it to court?

Even if the chance of saving your licence is good (and I can't say whether or not it is without knowing a lot more about the case), it is unlikely you will want to spend $4500 achieving that. It would cost less to get a chauffeur for a month. It is unlikely but not impossible you could save your licence by representing yourself. That would require going to Mansfield twice (only once if you engage a lawyer). Mansfield Court sits on Wednesdays, so you better plan your RDOs well in advance. You have not said anything about the obvious issue - you drove past a 80 kmh sign and say nothing about slowing down. My experience with the police in Mansfield is that they will not intercept you if you are reducing your speed down towards 80 after passing the 80 sign, but if you are just barrelling through without lifting your foot they'll pull you over.

gooddriver
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:36 pm

Re: Laser gun at bottom of a hill

Postby gooddriver » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:19 pm

Hi Hardy

When i wrote to you that time, i had already written in for court action and have just received the summons sheet. But after reading your advice, i have changed my mind since then about going to court (was just waiting for the summons sheet) and so i called Mansfield court to inform about me agreeing to pay the fine and not go to Court. But i was told i can't do that and that i only have the choice of appearing in Court (even though i have changed my mind and decide to pay now) or else risk a higher penalty. It was the registrar that said that. And i informed him that that legal advice given to me (by legal aid) does not agree with what he just said. Now i am confused. I really am so tired of this and would like to just arrange for payment options so i do not have to go to court for this.

Would really appreciate your good advice now as i do not quite believe the guy over the phone. Please help.

Thank you

Hardy
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Re: Laser gun at bottom of a hill

Postby Hardy » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:29 pm

Once you elect to go to court, you are in court. You can't elect to have your charges dropped. Once the charge has been filed at court, the case will not end without a magistrate making an order in respect of the charges. Since you now have a court case, the wise thing to do would be to see a lawyer about it - and not legal aid. If you just want to be rid of the problem, then don't show up at court and stay home while they convict you in your absence and impose a fine.

I did a county court appeal today where my client was represented by legal aid in the magistrates court. The sentence was 18 months licence loss and 6 months imprisonment wholly suspended for 2 years in the magistrate's court. I did the appeal where the client got 2 months licence loss and 1 month imprisonment wholly suspended for 1 year. I mention that only to indicate that some legal aid lawyers appear to be too busy to give some cases the attention they deserve, so some clients should consider having a specialist lawyer look at the case rather than rely on the duty solicitor at court or free advice on the phone.


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