back to article Software engineer demands source of his speeding collar

A US software engineer hopes to beat a speeding ticket by challenging the accuracy of the computerized radar gun used to snare him. Michael Felch has been granted a request by a Florida court hearing his case for the source code on the LTI 20/20 radar gun that was used in his collar to be turned over for his examination. …

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  1. Armus Squelprom
    FAIL

    How The Law Works....

    "History is not on his side. In November 2005, another Florida court, in Sarasota County, hearing a drunk-driving case, ordered that the code for the breathalyzer used in that collar to be handed over for examination by the defendant.

    Despite the court order, all research suggests that the code was not handed over by the breathalyzer's manufacturer. The defendant, meanwhile, was convicted anyway and the case closed a year later in November 2006"

    So corporations can simply flout a court order, and citizens get convicted anyway.

  2. Shingo Tamai
    Stop

    Doctired code

    What about it they provide a patched source code but the software installed in the radar is faulty?

  3. Quxy
    WTF?

    Discovery? In Traffic Court??

    I think it more likely that the court will simply dismiss the case than that Felch will get the source code he's requested. Despite the fact that "moving violations" (speeding, etc.) affect your insurance rates and (given enough of them) the status of your driver's licence, most jurisdictions in the States still treat speeding tickets primarily as a revenue stream, and writing citations for imagined or exaggerated speeds is common. In my experience, often just showing up in traffic court to fight the ticket is enough to have it dismissed.

  4. g00se

    Felching

    Perhaps if this trend of self-defensive demands for source code continues it might be useful to employ the term 'felching' in this, er... cleaner context?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Law enforcement products - really bad code

    I've seen much evidence that the folks that write software used in various products sold to the law enforcement community do not follow even the simplest process controls. Ask them if they're CMMI qualified. Try to find a company in this field that is ISO9000 (there are a few, but not many). Have a look at the products in the field and see if there's any evidence of software version control. Follow the news in this field and you'll see the most egregious bugs and mind-blowing stupidity.

    This applies to everything from radar guns to breathalyzers, to electronic control weapons. To be frank, they're all idiots.

    Of course the devices work properly most of the time. That's not the point. The point is that some of them time they do not work. And that brings the administration of justice into disrepute.

    The only reason (pure and simple) that the source code is kept hidden is because the entire legal system would collapse if it got out and was reviewed. Any other excuse are lies.

    And the reason that these companies are not CMMI certified is that they're simply not capable of being so certified.

  6. bothwell
    Unhappy

    wait

    Michael "Felch"?

  7. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Wrong approach?

    Looks like the request for the source code is a delaying action - getting his hands on the source code should be no big deal under a suitable NDA - but depending on the quality of the source (if it looks anything like most commercial source code I deal with) it probably will not help much - short of finding "{ ignore result here and go with higher number }" in the comments.

    He'd be better off (I would have thought) requesting the test and verification datasets together with the specific models production run test results.

    1. MichaelFelch

      binary hash

      requesting a hash of the radar guns binary and comparing it to a compiled version of the source provided would reveal a difference thus contempt of court on behalf of the state or manufacturer. not to mention simple forensics on the guns eprom should reveal accurate timestamps of altering. case dismissed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Corporate shills

      "So corporations can simply flout a court order, and citizens get convicted anyway."

      Yes. This is the way world lies nowadays. Even here in EU.

      Laws are written for the corporations, against the individuals.

      Very simple reason, too: Corporations pays the bribes, officially called "finances election campaigns" but that doesn't fool anyone: Corporation pays you to the office, you are their muppet.

      F**k the citizens who voted you, they are not relevant.

    3. Ned Leprosy

      ISO9000? eek!

      My memories of this thing aren't especially positive: it seemed to generate a heap of unnecessary and irrelevant paperwork that did nothing to improve coding quality, which actually suffered due to having substantially less time to spend on it and its associated procedures.

      Maybe I've just suffered especially bad implementations of ISO9000, but my experiences of working through it being introduced are two-nil to it being entirely counterproductive.

      Though I'm certainly not arguing against quality control in general, and competent project managers with the relevant planning and cat-herding skills are worth their weight in gold. Speaking as an end-user as well as a programmer, I'm as aggrieved as anyone at companies that take the "can't be arsed, it'll sell anyway" approach to quality assurance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Another worthless accreditation

        ISO9000 compliance means having a set of procedures in place, and having an audit trail to show they are being followed. It says nothing about whether the procedures are fit for purpose, or about the attitude to quality assurance in the company.

    4. Michael Hoffmann

      "Tough on crime"

      That's what I thought when it happened to me years back in the US and what my attorney told me, too.

      Until we found out that the district attorney was up for re-election. In the US West that generally means some pr*ck grandstanding on how "tough on crime" he is.

      Did manage to get it reduced to a handful of hours of community service, because I had no prior offenses. Which I then worked off in an aviation museum... as aviation buff and pilot I actually had a great time!

  8. Solomon Grundy
    Badgers

    Open Saucers

    While I'm not a big open source advocate, I do believe that certain technologies should be available for public scrutiny. Software which drives devices that have legal implications should fall into this category.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    it's just another tax

    Speed tickets are just a tax on the driver. like red-light cameras, their only intent is to earn money and not improve safety.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Actually he's got a decent case

    The other case was just a "hail mary" - knowing that the company wouldn't hand over the source, they were hoping they could derail things that way.

    However this guy is 1) a s/w engineer and thus somewhat of an expert in the relevant area, 2) has examples to suggest a possible issue, showing it's not just a "fishing expedition" and 3) the plausible contention that his car would have had difficulty doing the reported speed.

    So, I've got my fingers crossed. However, I've got fighter-plane radar engineers in the office, and they say the chances are not good that J. Random Dev could make heads or tails of the code.

  11. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Gadget based law enforcement.

    Personally where the law is concerned any device which can cause a conviction should be tested thoroughly. Or they should at least use two devices from different makers and average the results.

  12. Jim Carter
    WTF?

    Never mind the story...

    What an unfortunate last name!

    1. Black Betty
      FAIL

      Not a tax on drivers. Tax on stupidity.

      Every now and then I see editorials or LTEs complaining about receiving 10-20 speeding tickets in the mail at the end of the month as a result of speeding past a fixed, sign posted camera. Cameras that trigger their flash unit night AND day.

      What this tells me is that these people are complete and utter obliviots. They've driven the same route to work day in day out for so long that they are on autopilot and almost completely unaware of their surroundings on a conscious level.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      that's right

      these cameras have been put there to personally persecute you, and you deserve it, because you're clearly paranoid

    3. Moogal
      Go

      "like red light cameras"

      I don't have a problem with red light cameras - now if only there was a way they could be used to catch cyclists too...

      1. Rattus Rattus

        Don't they?

        The red light cameras down here in Australia catch cyclists just as well as they catch cars. Don't yours?

    4. Nick Stallman
      FAIL

      Huh?

      Yet if you dont speed, you dont get any fines.

      Funny that. They seem to be working perfectly to me.

    5. Rattus Rattus

      Could have been worse

      At least it's not "Santorum."

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just use some common sense

      I'm usually a fairly rapid driver, but have never been caught speeding. Why? Because I use my brain. You don't speed in town in 30/40 limits as this is where (as a rule) the cameras are placed. Add to that the fact that most car speedometers OVER-READ by a good 10% (on standard sized wheels) you have plenty of "wiggle room" before you break the limit.

      1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
        Black Helicopters

        Bollocks!

        Speed cameras/speed traps are placed where they will generate the most revenue, like good roads with ridiculous low speed limits, or in my case, the mobile camera van parked on the hard shoulder of a 4 lane motorway at 6am on a Sunday morning the day after the seed limit was reduced from 120KPH to 100KPH. Never saw the camera van at that location any time after that.

        Ever seen a speed trap at an accident black spot? No, neither have I.

        Dublin has introduced a new 30KPH speed limits in the “centre” of Dublin (that’s 18MPH to you non-metric peeps), some of these city “centre” areas include the main cross city roads. Needs to say the pi… eh police were out on the morning the limits change to fill their quota of speed tickets for the month. Some reports stated that cyclists were not stopped for breaking the speed limit.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    64mph round a corner?

    We know full well that American cars are incapable of cornering at more than 5mph, so there's no case to answer.

  14. 46Bit
    Black Helicopters

    Hmm

    No doubt the reason the company has yet to deliver the source code is that they've got programmers urgently fixing it in order to destroy his case.

  15. Sean Bergeron
    Black Helicopters

    It is Florida, after all.....

    Since a) he was stopped, and b) an officer wrote him a ticket, this should be a pretty straightforward case in court, not even requiring examination of the source code. Did the officer really think he was going that fast, or was he relying purely on the read-out on the known-faulty gun? I understand that that much over the speed limit is probably reckless driving, but, at some point reason does enter in, even if it is a Florida court.

    Can't help but wonder if this guy is just excessively angry due to his unfortunate last name.

  16. dolcraith

    A new government org needed?

    These devices are the same as voting machines. Local/State/Federal governments need to review the code and hardware before purchasing or using it. Like a federal validation org or something. Then they can say that the breathalyzer/speed gun/voting machine meets/exceeds the requirements/reliability/etc.

  17. WinHatter
    Pint

    Why not suing the car's manufacturer

    as well, for wrongfully shaping to the side of his car.

  18. Stratman
    Paris Hilton

    title

    Felch?!?!?

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. MichaelFelch
    Thumb Up

    Correction.. Compel was against the State

    Just a quick note, I filed the motion to compel against the State of Florida not Laser Technology. Follow what happens at www.iGlobalOnline.com

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      What?

      Surely you're allowed to ask the officer to show you the alleged reading on their radar gun? Surely...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    OMG: "Felch"?

    I expect the tabloids to follow this case closely.

    If he wins, that means that the cops were "felched"!

    Mine's the one with all kinds of stuff in the back...

  22. Brian Miller

    Logic should previail, "Dukes of Hazard" notwithstanding

    If the fellow was making a "right-hand corner from a standing stop on a red light" then logic should show that 64MPH is infeasible. The officer should not have issued a speeding ticket, and should have issued a ticket for reckless driving and endangerment, and made photographs of the skid marks on the pavement.

  23. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    34mph from a stop?

    so, clocked at 64 and he claimed he couldn't do it because he right turned from a standing start. But he could have been going 34? That still seems quite quick if he really was just starting up.

    They don't mention what kind of car he had or how far from the corner he was though -- a healthy V8 these days can get to 64 in 5 or 6 seconds, and in short distance, less than a city block. A few modern sixes can too. Did he do it? I don't know. But it's not impossible.

  24. not'known@this.address
    Go

    I can believe it...

    I once passed one of the UK's temporary speed camera/display jobbies and clocked up a speed of 26mph in a 30mph zone...

    Which was quite impressive for a knackered old Ford Escort 1300 turning left from a standing start... 0-26 in about 6ft... 8-0

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    ~35MPH around a corner?

    His argument was that he was going around a corner, so he couldn't have been going 64mph.

    Instead, by his argument, he was taking a corner--from a standing stop--at no less than 35mph? Really? I'm picturing pureed groceries in the back seat.

    Of course, that's probably the consistency he likes, given the surname (you'll need a very unabridged dictionary of slang).

  26. George Gardiner 1
    Stop

    Civil vs. Criminal law

    Not the first to think of this idea I'm sure, the problem with it is that it usually won't stick unless you are defending a criminal case.

    Civil cases are a little odd in that they do not carry the 'burden of proof'.

    So your congestion charge ticket still stands.

    Get a bicycle.

    1. Retired Geek
      Unhappy

      So can I ...

      I was once in a courtroom in New Jersey where a demonstration of the "radar gun" (I don't remember if it was a laser or actual radar) showed the courtroom wall going 15 mph. The poor sucker still had to pay the fine.

    2. TimeMaster T
      Linux

      Another point

      Yes a V8 could get the car to 64mph in 5 or 6 seconds.

      But consider that he was making a turn and accelerating from a complete stop.

      Last time I tried doing something like that I made a lot of noise, smoke and almost a 180.

      I'm not saying it couldn't happen, just that it depends on several bits of information we do not have. Road condition, car type, engine power, tire type, how far he had traveled out of the turn before the laser hit the car, etc., every one of those affects how fast he could really have been going at the time he was nabbed.

      Personally I'm skeptical of the claimed speed, but I concede that its not impossible. Just reasonably doubtful.

      Tux, just for Hell of it.

    3. Marcus Aurelius
      Paris Hilton

      Who needs a V8 or V6?

      Last I heard, the old 4 Cylinder 2.2litre Lotus Esprit SE (Series 3) got you 0-60 in 4.7 seconds.....I'm sure someone can find more modern examples.

      Paris, because she really goes (allegedly)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @it's just another tax

    So running red lights is safe is it? For me every set of lights should have cameras. It's pretty simple the amber is on for three seconds, three whole seconds. It's the same for every set of lights, so they can't catch you out. There's no way you can fail to stop in three seconds, so in other words if you run a red you're doing it deliberately. And if you're doing it deliberately you're a fucking idiot.

    It's hardly a tax is it? If you get caught by the cameras four times then you lose your licence, if they wanted to tax you they would let you keep your licence. After all if you're stupid enough to keep gettin caught by a big bright yellow camera then you're a guaranteed source of income. You want to avoid this "tax" all you have to do is break.

    Speed cameras are not a solution to the problem of speeding, but not for the reasons you think. Speed cameras are not a solution to speeding because they are painted bright yellow an come with attentend road markings so only complete fucking idiots get caught by them. The people who are stupid enough to break the limit, but not stupid enough to get caught by the cameras just speed between the cameras. There's a road near us which has just got about ten shiny new cameras on a stretch of road about five miles long. For some reason speeding is a major problem on that road and the casualty rate is very high. Nobody's really surprised when the road is closed due to another fatality. Unfortunately speeding is still a major problem because you can still see the morons accelerating after each camera and breaking for the next. If the cameras could be hidden but everybody knew there were ten of them then only a complete fucktard would break the limit on that stretch of road. I will never understand the point of a speed trap you can see. Nor will I ever understand how anybody can get caught by one.

    The thing that most idiots don't get is that each camera costs the safety partnership a fortune to run and they don't make a penny from it. So they must think they work.

    If you don't like a particular camera or set of cameras you can complain that they're not working. All the stats, pre and post camera, are available there. If they haven't reduced casualties you can complain. The best thing about those sites for idiots like you is that they tell you which cameras are active at the moment and where the mobile cameras are operating.

    So until you can get a coherent argument together fuck off back to the Daily Fail website where you belong.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Friend of a frie... well, my friend actually!

      DID run a red (it changed before he got to the white line but he was going to damn fast to stop in time) and heard nothing.

      Got caught doing 41mph through one of the infamous UK "(no) men at work" 40 mph sections of motorway "maintenance" and got a fixed penalty for 'endangering the workers'...

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. Tom 35 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Yellow light timing

      The plan to install a bunch of red light cameras in Toronto was scrapped because the province would not allow the city to shorten the yellow light enough for them to make money and the contractor quit (they were to get a cut of each ticket).

      A. C. , Google "red light camera short yellow" if you think it's not a problem.

    4. Richard 12 Silver badge

      @AC 21:21

      Speed does not kill. It never has, and never will.

      What causes collisions is a failure to stop or manoeuvre in time to avoid another object - be that moving or stationary, another car, pedestrian or a tree. This is true of 100% of impacts.

      Excessive speed is a risk factor for this, but actually a relatively small one - some studies publish statistics for speed being a 'significant factor' in a collision, but oddly there are no statistics for accidents where the speed in question was actually above the limit. (As opposed to 'it's foggy, should have slowed down)

      As to your premise:

      "If the cameras could be hidden but everybody knew there were ten of them then only a complete fucktard would break the limit on that stretch of road."

      How would 'everybody know there were ten of them'? Visitors wouldn't know about *any* of them, but only see the (one or two) white/black traffic enforcement camera signs. (Maybe - there's no 'end of zone' marker, so...)

      The 'bright yellow' colour of the cameras is quite amazing - now you only need a bright yellow box on a stick to get all the sudden braking and speedometer-watching that a genuine camera would have created.

      As for a coherent argument:

      54% of scenes of collision gave inattention/distraction as a significant cause

      28% of collisions gave speed, tailgating, being in a hurry and aggressive driving as significant.

      - Note the deliberate clustering of Speed with Aggression, tailgating etc.

      Only 13% of collisions considered 'Excessive Speed' significant, and as mentioned above this includes driving below the posted speed limit in bad conditions - which no camera could ever note.

      I could not find any notation of which collisions involved actual illegal speeds, and the study even states that there is almost no data given on the estimated speed so it's impossible to find out how many collisions partially caused by excessive speed involved illegal speeds.

      The only speed data given was the posted speed limit.

      Source: Pages 30-36: http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/research/rsrr/theme5/roadaccidentdatabase.pdf (February 2008)

      A quick analysis of the above study implies that the maximum for collisions partially caused by traffic enforcement cameras is more than those caused by Alcohol, so it should be worthy of study.

      However, I couldn't find any research at all into the numbers of collisions likely to have been caused by the distraction of speed cameras. I found lots of claims of this, and quite a bit of circumstantial and anecdotal evidence, but no real studies.

      So, why have there been no studies? I'll leave that one for you guys...

    5. HollyX
      Badgers

      Check facts ;-)

      "So running red lights is safe is it?"

      In the US making a right turn on a red is legal, you just have to check there's no traffic coming.

      1. LateNightLarry
        Stop

        Check Facts ;-)

        Just make sure you come to a COMPLETE stop for at least one or two seconds before you make your right turn on red if the intersection has a camera. There have been several tickets issued around Napa (CA) because people didn't make that complete and total stop (cessation of all motion) for long enough, and the camera nailed them... judge just says, "Too bad".

        Oh, and the fine for running a red light when a camera is involved is around $500... and you have to pay the fine before you can appeal the ticket.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Oh?

        And the energy an object has at the time of impact has absolutely no relevance to the amount of damage is does to itself and any impacted object, has it now? Physics might be a good place to start when discussing reality...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not allways:

        "In the US making a right turn on a red is legal, you just have to check there's no traffic coming."

        This is not allways the case. This depends on state and local laws, and can be illegal on some roads if proper signs or lights are posted.

        In New York, right turns on red lights are forbidden unless specifically noted by signs.

    6. MonkeyBot

      It's not rocket science

      "I will never understand the point of a speed trap you can see."

      It's called a deterrent. If you put a camera up on a dangerous bend, it's to make people slow down. A hidden camera gets lots of pictures of cars going off into a hedge at 60mph, a bright yellow camera makes people slow down and not crash on the corner.

      It also means that small villages on A-roads don't have people hooning through them because they can't be bothered slowing to 30/40. The purpose of a speed camera should be to stop people speeding, not to catch them after they've done it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Flame

        Cameras are modern road robbers

        "The purpose of a speed camera should be to stop people speeding, not to catch them after they've done it."

        Yes, in ideal and honest world. Unfortunately it doesn't exist and cameras have only one purpose: Make money, ie. stealing. When people get killed in that process, nobody cares.

        Here in Finland camera is never near the school or big intersection, where speeding would be a real danger, no no.

        They are in the middle of mile long straights, in steep downward slopes and in junctions that are so small that they are practically non-existant.

        Because the camera has only real function: Make money and make money fast. Usually the speed limit is also dropped at least 10mph for the camera, sometimes 20mph. Otherwise the camera isn't generating money fast enough.

        Of course, no other reason than camera exists for lower speed limit.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Impossible demanded, no surprise.

      "There's no way you can fail to stop in three seconds, so in other words if you run a red you're doing it deliberately. And if you're doing it deliberately you're a fucking idiot."

      Absolute bullshit.

      Three seconds is the time light burns as yellow. Your reaction time is one second.

      One second to brakes to fully engage leaves 1 second to stop, at 1G it means you can, in theory, stop from the speed of ~10 m/s. That is 36km/h, about 22 mph.

      People who don't have a clue about physics are bound to demand for impossibilieties like idiots. Here's an very good example.

      "No way you can fail to stop", really? From whose arse did you get that statement from?

      On the other hand, at least here in Nordic the law says about yellow light: "Be prepared to stop", meaning you have three seconds time to think of if you can stop safely or do you have to hurry over the crossing (against red light, if necessary).

      Which is totally different than 'You must stop. NOW!"

    8. Tuomas Hosia
      Flame

      Cameras are a road killers

      "The thing that most idiots don't get is that each camera costs the safety partnership a fortune to run and they don't make a penny from it. So they must think they work."

      Every camera pays itself back in three _months_. If the operator is not getting their share, too bad.

      No sympathy for them from me, I'd say just: Hang them high.

      Because cameras create more accidents than they prevent, as they prevent none and increase (fatal) rear end collisions by 22%.

      Highway safety independent study, quite valid and also fits in the reality.

    9. BristolBachelor Gold badge
      Stop

      The cameras are infallible

      So what do you say about all the cases that are thrown out because there is evidence that the speed reported by the device is wrong.

      Cases that I can recall:

      School bus driver in Scotland - the tacho from the bus showed he was driving far below the limit.

      Kid in the US whose father had his car fitted with a tracker. The tracker reported the GPS location and speed something like every 10 seconds.

      I have read may more.

      And you think that, these people were idiots for driving within the posted speed limits, but being reported by faulty equipment...

      PS. I'd like to see your face when you are presented with a fine under the obscene communications act :)

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      Two issues

      1) Brake not break please. Minor point, but good spelling does help when comprehending a long post.

      2) Reversion to the mean. I have one major issue with the statistics published for speed cameras. They do not account for reversion to the mean. I'll show you a very simple example. Let's say you have a road where one fatal accident occurs every 5 years. Last year there was a fatal accident, you put a camera up, then this year there have been no fatal accidents. Is that a successful camera, or just the fact that an average year will not have a fatal accident? The only way for the statistics to be vaguely meaningful is if you show a trend that decreases, not a blip in statistics that disappears the following year. Even then you have problems. Are reductions in injuries and deaths a result of reductions in speed, or improvements in car safety?

      I am not going to go as far as claiming that speed is not unsafe. Speed can be an aggravating factor in many accidents. However, no-one has yet to convince me that speed cameras are a more efficient safety measure than police on the roads. Driving at 90mph on a clear motorway at night in dry conditions is pretty safe, tailgating in rain on a motorway at 70mph is very dangerous. Police will stop you for one and probably not the other. A camera will catch you doing one but not the other. I know which behaviour I would most like to see stamped out on the roads.

    11. Goat Jam
      Stop

      Idiots charging thru lights are one thing

      But when you pull up at the lights due to a last minute change and your front wheels are over the line resulting in a ticket being issued then that my friend is pure revenue raising.

  28. pentatonic dinosaur

    Radar - laser?

    How can this report be taken seriously, the journalist simply hasn't done his research.

    The LTI 20.20 produces a laser NOT radar - there is no radar invloved whatsoever.

    1. steve 44
      Troll

      Where's my facepalm icon?

      "Its a Lidar gun however the state of Florida recognizes it as a radar gun... No facts supporting your comment"

      pentatonic dinosaur, you've just been made...........

      *puts on sunglasses*

      Extinct

      1. J-Wick

        YEEEEAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        <The post is required, and must contain letters.>

  29. MichaelFelch
    Thumb Down

    State of Florida designates it at a radar

    Its a Lidar gun however the state of Florida recognizes it as a radar gun... No facts supporting your commeng

  30. An nonymous Cowerd
    Grenade

    red light safety cameras @AC21.21gmt

    except in Italy, where many had commune installed red light safety cameras, 99% of these cameras then disappeared overnight when the camera manufacturer was arrested. truffe/semafori truccati

    Allegedly, It turns out that the manufacturer/mayors changed the timing of the Amber light down from the legally mandated 'codice della strada' around 4 to 5 seconds to an en-criminalising 2 seconds. there might have been other 'tricks' involved as these were purely revenue cameras (some small village areas Travedona Monate near Varese made around a megaeuro per annum)

    I don't know what the legal ramifications on appeals were as I wasn't caught by even the short Amber period.

    It was amazing how fast the suspect installations all were removed!

    By the way , France is VERY heavily investing in radar installations in 2009/2010 and remember that you need a fluorescent jacket for each (potential) person in the car = on the spot fine if not.

    Italy , with a well defined constitution and 'code of the route' states that the following systems have been homologated and approved with info on www.trasporti.gov.it

    T RED (decreto di approvazione n. 3458 del 15/12/05; estensioni n. 19403 del 27/7/06 e n. 48534 del 9/6/08).

    - T RED Speed (approvazione 34047 del 16/4/08).

    - Vista RED (approvazione162 del 23/2/06; estensioni 60298 dell'11/12/06 e 57768 dell'11/7/08).

    - Photored F17A (conferma approvazione 1130 del 18/3/04; estensione 16708 del 19/2/07).

    - Photored F17D (approvazione 47017 dell'11/5/2009).

    - Velocar Red&Speed (decreto di approvazione 56214 dell'8/7/08)

    - Traffistar SR 520 (approvazione 47177 del 4/6/08).

    - L'Autostop k20 (conferma approvazione 1135 del 18/3/04).

    - il Traffiphot III G (conferma approvazione 1132 del 18/3/04).

    - L'Italian Red Speed TM (conferma approvazione 1131 del 18/3/04)

    I think it wouldn't be possible to examine or contest the software!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Texas too...

      "Allegedly, It turns out that the manufacturer/mayors changed the timing of the Amber light down from the legally mandated 'codice della strada' around 4 to 5 seconds to an en-criminalising 2 seconds."

      The limit is that the yellow needs to be on 3.5 s. (Or something similar.) There were a bunch of cities in Texas caught with yellow lights of 2 s. The state came close to banning the cameras after that - but they did not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        Famous for Speed Traps

        Both Georgia and Texas came close to being on the right side of the Civil War, too.

  31. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    S/W change should be up to engine management development standard

    Code for these devices is *critical* to the story they tell.

    First rate hardware being controlled by substandard software is a recipe for readings which are nowhere near as accurate as the hardware *should* be capable of and potentially little better than random noise in some cases.

  32. M Gale

    I have to wonder..

    ..why public bodies DON'T demand open source software for any device like this. Yes I know, freetard, etc, etc. But really, of all things, you would think that making software like this viewable by all would be a GOOD thing. It would certainly remove any reasonable doubt, which is after all, how you're supposed to find someone guilty. Or is it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Job security by obscurity

      "It would certainly remove any reasonable doubt, which is after all, how you're supposed to find someone guilty. Or is it?"

      No. There's no other real purpose of these devices than make money for the buyers.

      Definetely the makers of these devices _don't want_ to show everybody how long backwards they have bent to provide what has been asked for.

      That would invalidate half of the industry overnight, like seen in examples above.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    I've always thought that speed traps felch anyway

    Now it appears that I am correct.

  34. Wize

    @Richard 12

    "Speed does not kill. It never has, and never will."

    Yea, its the idiots who do not know how to drive safely for the road conditions that kill.

    EG, bombing round a blind bend at 60 in a housing scheme on a damp and dark Tuesday morning and finding a parked car on your side and another coming the other way caused a post office van to take out a bus stop full of children waiting to go to school. Had he been driving nearer to 30, he would have been able to stop.

    The idea is that there are too many morons out there who don't know how to drive to the conditions. Therefore we have to limit everyone to get these idiots to drive more sensibly.

    As a result of this driver, the whole area became a 20mph zone. Every sensible driver out there knows areas of that road will take over 30 without any danger to anyone. But we have to keep it lower for the sake of the idiots and for the sake of those they will injure.

  35. kain preacher Silver badge

    @LateNightLarry

    Just make sure you come to a COMPLETE stop for at least one or two seconds before you make your right turn on red if the intersection has a camera. There have been several tickets issued around Napa (CA) because people didn't make that complete and total stop (cessation of all motion) for long enough, and the camera nailed them... judge just says, "Too bad".

    I have the CA drivers hand book right here . It says you only have to stop for red light while making a right turn if there are signs posted or its not safe . It never says any thing about a period of time .

  36. -tim
    Flame

    Cross check engineering?

    One of the highways in Melbourne has a bunch of speed cameras mounted on a bridge that has a nasty habit of issuing tickets for 108 km/h. Not 107 and not 109 but 108. It appears that trucks cause the bridge to vibrate and the harmonic frequency of the bridge is the same as a Doppler shift caused by something moving at 108 so its just like using a non-speeding turning fork to test a radar. So far there has only been one fatality at the site which involved a truck bursting into flames after trying to avoid the people who slow down to 80 or worse under that bridge so they don't lose any more points.

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