Suspected malfunctioning traffic lights / red light camera

Yellow Lights
T86_guy
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Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:45 pm

Suspected malfunctioning traffic lights / red light camera

Postby T86_guy » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:40 pm

Hello.
I was visiting Melbourne (I live in NSW and hold NSW dr. licence) and was driving my friend's car. Friend was in the front passenger seat.
Driving on Dandenong Rd from city heading towards Chadstone on Friday about quarter past four in the arvo. At the intersection Dandenong Rd cross Kooyong Rd, I drove (I think I did anyway) through the yellow light which turned red and the camera flased twice. I swear it didn't stay yellow for as long as it was supposed to (4.5secs, according to the Traffic Engineering Guidelines, the speed limit there is 70). My friend (car owner) also said that she thought one of the lights was not working.
Anyway, some days later she received the red light fine, and I told her to nominate me as I was the driver at that time, so she did. When the penalty notice arrived to me in NSW, I reviewed the photos online, and yes, they show that I drove on red, and their statement was that I crossed the stop line 0.6sec after the light turned red. No way!

I asked her to go there again on the same weekday (Friday) and approx same time to check the lights, so she did, parked her car on the side street and walked to that set of lights.
Two lights were not working at all! (all dark). That was several weeks after the alleged offence day. She took photos of that. She also timed the yellow on period, and it measured around 4sec.

Sorry for a longish story. Here come the questions:

I am reluctant to go to the court, because I reckon my argumentation is weak (unless you convince me otherwise :-), but could you please clarify the following :

1) I understand that the lights and the camera should undergo a periodic assessment and re-certification.
Are those certificates available to public? Where can I access them to check that they were not out of date on that day?

2) Can the photos of the faulty lights (taken on a different day) be used as an argument pointing to that the set of lights and/or camera can not be trusted?

3) Together with (2) above, how strong is my statement that yellow time was significantly shorter than prescribed?

Any other considerations, specific or general, are welcome.

In short, I am 100% sure I didn't drive 0.6sec into the red light. How can my confidence, together with the facts above, be used to fight this case, on the grounds of the faulty lights/camera?
So far I am sincerely convinced in that the camera / lights were malfunctioning, but I don't feel confident / experienced enough to prove that in the court (or in the submission) , so am asking for your help.

Thank you.

Hardy
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Re: Suspected malfunctioning traffic lights / red light camera

Postby Hardy » Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:49 am

1) Where can I access them to check that they were not out of date on that day?

https://www.camerassavelives.vic.gov.au ... rtificates

2) Can the photos of the faulty lights (taken on a different day) be used as an argument pointing to that the set of lights and/or camera can not be trusted?

Maybe, but the court just needs to look at the photo taken by the red light camera to see if there were any red lights applicable to you on the day.

3) Together with (2) above, how strong is my statement that yellow time was significantly shorter than prescribed?

Your point about the yellow time is independent of 1 and 2 above. The yellow time is not prescribed as such - it is just a guideline the police follow. You will need video evidence of the light sequence so the time can be measured. Assuming it is too short, the police will either agree or disagree with you. If it is short by 0.5 seconds, you may find you are still out at 0.6 seconds.

I reviewed the photos online, and yes, they show that I drove on red
.... I am 100% sure I didn't drive 0.6sec into the red light.

This is very common. Unfortunately it is not a good defence.
I'm assuming your desire to win does not extend to wanting to spend $4000+ on lawyers, in which case your chance of winning seems to depend on whether you can prove the yellow time was short. The police might withdraw the infringement if the time is short.

T86_guy
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Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:45 pm

Re: Suspected malfunctioning traffic lights / red light camera

Postby T86_guy » Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:23 pm

Thanks for the prompt reply Sean and for your input.


Hardy wrote:www . camerassavelives.vic.gov.au ... rtificates
.
Thank you. Yes, I have also found the link you provided. It contains the camera inspection reports, but not the ones for the traffic lights/controllers themselves. I understand that the red light camera has to be linked to the controller, as it receives the light switch time signal from it for the designed operation, right? How do we know that the timing is not stuffed up and the camera doesn't get the "enable triggering" signal in the middle of the yellow light?

Hardy wrote:This is very common. Unfortunately it is not a good defence.
Never thought it was. So I went pretty thoroughly today through the documental evidences (Red camera pics and the bunch of videos and photos taken by my friend few weeks later, on the same weekday and same time of the day, with the weather and sunlight conditions similar to the ones on the alleged offence day).

First, I measured the yellow time based on her video, and it is hard to time it precisely, as there is a cross-fade between the changing colours (yes, for a short period of time - a frame or two (30fps) both lamps are on). Anyway, I did my best to be honest and measure the yellow time correctly, and it works out to be 4.2 or 4.3 seconds, so I don't think I have any line of arguments here, even I am sure it was shorter on the day... So, this one is out.

What drew my attention though is that the direction of sunlight (from behind of our car straight into the lights), together with the weak brightness of the lamps (those are ancient incandescent lamps, not the modern LEDs, and they seem pretty burnt out too), makes the set of lights virtually unusable at that time of the sunny day - that is why we both (my friend and I) got confused - I probably mistimed the light change and she got an impression that the lights were not working at all. See below.

Hardy wrote:Maybe, but the court just needs to look at the photo taken by the red light camera to see if there were any red lights applicable to you on the day.


I have uploaded my Red Camera photos to the following links (all private information is removed from those) :

https://ibb.co/G5Z4NGV
and
https://ibb.co/YhjxddK

There are three lights (the one for the tram is not counted) in these pics. Please have a look and tell me if you think the middle one works as it should.

Further on, I have extracted three frame snapshots from my friend's video featuring the same three lights taken as I mentioned above on a similar day. The snapshots are for the green, yellow and red light stages, subsequently. All three frames are taken within 6 sec interval - you can see the same cars in them.
I uploaded these here:
https://ibb.co/ZfqrHgY
https://ibb.co/z4d91NV
https://ibb.co/4RFrz5Y

I did not do any postprocessing whatsoever - these frames are exactly as they were taken by my friends mobile phone camera.
To me, it is quite clear that while the right hand side light's colours are fully recognizable, the other two lights make the drivers guessing which light is on, if at all. Do you think this may be sufficient to build a solid defense case around ?

Comments? Suggestions?
Thanks.

Hardy
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Re: Suspected malfunctioning traffic lights / red light camera

Postby Hardy » Sat Oct 05, 2019 5:24 pm

There's three lights in the photo. Two more lights on left side are not in the photo.
Only one needs to be working. It seems like all of them are working.

T86_guy
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Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:45 pm

Re: Suspected malfunctioning traffic lights / red light camera

Postby T86_guy » Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:38 pm

Applied for internal review, stating my reasons.
Got rejected. No explanations or counter arguments given. Just no.
Paid the fine today. 3 points, 413 bucks.
Shocking Victorian police attitude.
Shocking conditions of the traffic lights (I can't even recall when I saw the incandescent bulb in the traffic light last time in NSW - they are all LEDs, for a long time).
Oh, well... They will probably go to hell. Eventually. :evil:

Have a nice day everyone. :D

Hardy
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Posts: 8465
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 10:00 am
Location: Melbourne Victoria
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Re: Suspected malfunctioning traffic lights / red light camera

Postby Hardy » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:23 pm

They never give a favourable internal review to a red light camera offence. Their guidelines prohibit granting any leniency to a person who they believe has committed a red light offence. The choices for someone with a red light ticket is to pay it, or nominate it, or take it to court. Internal review is not a viable an option.

T86_guy
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:45 pm

Re: Suspected malfunctioning traffic lights / red light camera

Postby T86_guy » Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:47 pm

That's OK, Sean. That's just money. No problems. This page is turned over.

My point was: if only they had a half of that zeal, with which they bash the money out of us, directed to the efforts to keep the traffic lights in a proper condition, so we don't have to guess the colour... Dreams, dreams... :)


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