5/27/2011Australia: Speed Camera Driver Busted for Speeding
Man in Australian speed camera van busted for driving at double the speed limit.
A government labor relations board in Australia yesterday upheld the firing of an employee busted for driving a speed camera van at more than double the speed limit. Stuart Rollo appealed to Fair Work Australia after he was terminated by Serco Traffic Camera Services in Victoria on December 10 for driving 102km/h (63 MPH) 50km/h (31 MPH) zone. On Thursday Commissioner G.R. Smith determined the firing was warranted by the circumstances.
The government of Victoria granted Serco the right to issue automated speeding tickets. The firm hired Rollo to drive the photo enforcement vehicle to a given location and turn on the equipment. Each speed camera van was equipped with a GPS tracking device that allowed remote monitoring of the vehicle's location and speed.
On October 22 a Victoria Police unit photographed Rollo driving a speed van at 87 km/h (54 MPH) in an 80 km/h zone (50 MPH) and the citation was mailed to Serco. This prompted company officials to examine Rollo's driving history, as recorded by the GPS device. This audit uncovered that Rollo in September had been driving up to 113 km/h (70 MPH) in a 100 km/h (62 MPH) zone -- well within the tolerance for which an ordinary Australian motorist would receive a ticket. It also confirmed his blast at more than twice the legal limit on October 22.
Although speed camera firms have argued in court that GPS data is unreliable when used by a motorist to defend against a speeding ticket, in this case Serco asked Ben Ditford, the major projects and account manager for Mobile Tracking and Data Pty Ltd to testify that the GPS tracking unit produced information far more accurate than a speedometer.
"I accept the evidence of Mr Ditford and I find the GPS equipment on the Serco vehicles is reliable," Smith wrote in his decision. "In any event, to the extent that errors may exist, I find, on Mr Ditford's evidence, that it is unlikely that any error could lead to the equipment not being able to discern the difference between 50 km/h and 102 km/h."
Rollo argued that he was never told that his speed would be monitored by GPS and that the device was only meant to verify that vehicles were properly positioned throughout the day. Rollo also argued that he had been speeding because he had a medical condition and needed to go to the bathroom. Smith rejected the argument because Rollo had never raised the subject with his employer and he only mentioned this once the case reached the cross-examination stage. Smith questioned the man's honesty.
"Mr Rollo has not accepted that he knew he was speeding," Smith wrote. "However this does not sit comfortably with the evidence of Mr Fryer who said that Mr Rollo admitted to him that he may have set off a speed camera on the night in question. This evidence was consistent with the GPS data which showed there was a sudden drop in speed immediately after the speed camera detected him exceeding the speed limit. I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Mr Rollo was not unaware of the fact that he was traveling at a speed which was above the speed limit."
Smith concluded that this amounted to serious misconduct and Rollo's summary dismissal was warranted. A copy of the decision is available in a 150k PDF file at the source link below.