By on June 7, 2010

Being accused by a speed camera now provides sufficient evidence for police in Western Australia to confiscate a car. On Friday, a 49-year-old man lost his Porsche 944 Turbo because a combination red light camera and speed camera accused him of driving 130km/h in a 60 zone (80 MPH in a 37 zone) at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Barrack Street in Perth. The cameras began ticketing drivers at that location on May 7.

Under the state’s so-called “hoon” law, which was revised in January, police can seize vehicles accused of performing a burnout or “sustained loss of traction,” driving 27 MPH over the speed limit, or any type of driving classified as “reckless.” For a first accusation, the penalty is a mandatory 28-day impound, regardless of the owner’s culpability or the circumstances involved. No judge verifies or approves the seizure. A car is impounded for three-months on a second accusation. On the third, police get to keep the car permanently. Each day a car is stored racks up significant fees that must be paid, along with a towing charge, if the vehicle is to be returned.

The confiscation of cars based solely on the evidence provided by a speed camera is significant considering Australian officials have been forced to refund hundreds of thousands of fines to drivers falsely accused by an automated ticketing machine. Earlier this year, over 900 innocent motorists received inaccurate speed camera tickets in New South Wales. In 2008, Victoria officials secretly deactivated cameras known to be faulty. The state openly admitted that there had been 1130 incidents of motorists falsely accused of speeding between 2004 to 2006. The most significant incident of all happened on July 2003 when a Victoria camera accused motorist Vanessa Bridges’ 1975 Datsun 120Y of driving at 98 MPH. Even after the thirty-year-old Datsun was tested and found to be capable of reaching speeds no greater than 73 MPH, officials dug in their heels and insisted the photo enforcement system was accurate. After public outrage forced independent testing, officials admitted that faulty in-ground sensors and electromagnetic interference had been responsible for generating bogus speed readings. This forced Victoria Police to refund 165,000 speed camera tickets.

The car confiscation, however, is not limited to camera enforcement. Western Australian police officers running a laser speed trap on Friday were able to grab a 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS 350, a car that retailed for A$160,000 when new. The owner, a 27-year-old, had been driving on the Mitchell Freeway at 1:45am, according to a police news release.

Western Australia officials expect to generate $56 million from its automated ticketing machines next year.

[Courtesy: Thenewspaper.com]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

12 Comments on “Australia: Speed Cameras Used To Confiscate Cars...”


  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    “The car confiscation, however, is not limited to camera enforcement. Western Australian police officers running a laser speed trap on Friday were able to grab a 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS 350, a car that retailed for A$160,000 when new. The owner, a 27-year-old, had been driving on the Mitchell Freeway at 1:45am, according to a police news release.”

    Was he breaking the law as written? This paragraph implies that the car was impounded for no other reason than to get the state some free cash. I’m sure the cops would not have pulled him over if he had been obeying the posted limit. Laws related to speeding as well as the punishments involved are publicly available and usually public knowledge. Sometimes fines are even posted on road signs. You know the consequences for breaking the laws….if you don’t want to pay them, don’t take the risk.

    • 0 avatar
      john.fritz

      So then following that line of reasoning, I guess it’s OK if they write some new law saying it’s OK to take the guy’s house too. Or a new little law to garnish his wages for the next fifteen years to pay a $30,000.00 fine. Or write a law saying it’s OK to just take him out behind the police station and beat the shit out of him for a few hours.

      As a result of this guy speeding there was no injury, no victim, no loss of life and no loss of property or property damage. When is enough enough with these crazy punishments?

    • 0 avatar
      1996MEdition

      “As a result of this guy speeding there was no injury, no victim, no loss of life and no loss of property or property damage. When is enough enough with these crazy punishments?”

      By this guy speeding, however, the risk of injury, victims, loss of life, and loss of property is greatly increased. Even if this guy was a trained driver, the general public is not. If I pull out in front of him and he is going double the posted speed, who is at fault? Should the general public be expected to anticipate that this guy is so self-important and such an awesome driver that he has to drive twice the posted limit?

      Since he was on a public road, these risks are increased for the public. He can track his car and drive like a self important, narcissistic douche-bag (TTAC words for the day!) all he wants. Operating a vehicle on public roads is a privilege, not a right. The consequence of having your car impounded as a result of reckless driving is to me a fair deterent.

    • 0 avatar
      Nicodemus

      @John.Fritz:

      “So then following that line of reasoning, I guess it’s OK if they write some new law saying it’s OK to take the guy’s house too.”

      As it happens yes, under the ’2002 Proceeds of Crime Act’, the state has the power to confiscate, houses, cars etc.

  • avatar
    Some Guy

    If you’re going 80 in a 37 zone, expect bad things to happen.

    • 0 avatar
      ufomike

      I would have thought that countries like Australia were civilized enough not to have one party (the speed camera in this case) play judge, jury, and executioner. The guy does not get a trial or an appeal or anything. Even in countries like Russia and China at the very least they give you a trial. Remind me to think twice before I pull over for the police if I ever find myself traveling in Australia.

    • 0 avatar
      Nicodemus

      “I would have thought that countries like Australia were civilized enough not to have one party (the speed camera in this case) play judge, jury, and executioner. The guy does not get a trial or an appeal or anything. Even in countries like Russia and China at the very least they give you a trial. Remind me to think twice before I pull over for the police if I ever find myself traveling in Australia.”

      The speed camera only provides evidence, the fine is then issued by ‘The Infringements Court’. The person issued the fine is presented with evidence of their wrongdoing and are given the option of A. Paying the fine B. Requesting revocation on mitigating ground whatever they may be. C. Having the matter heard before the magistrates court.

      Basically the fine issued is more or less a default plea bargain. You can fight it if you want.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    *Sigh*… being the subject of the Big Brother and getting raped legally sucks.

  • avatar

    Australian descend to fascism follows closely the British one. There is something about British system that makes it susceptible to this kind of thing.

  • avatar
    werewolf34

    Pete’s right. Most of the legal system comes out of a monarchy.

    Usually shows up when Labour raises taxes just cuz

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    Silly question, why is the value of the cars impounded get such emphasis in this article? A guy driving a $160000 car is probably LESS inconvenienced by its unavailability than a guy whose $5000 car is impounded.

    Get a grip kiddies, he was driving double the limit in a town. A month with a hire car isn’t a disproportionate response.

  • avatar
    Lee

    I hate this about my home town. I won’t be going back anytime soon. It is fast becoming a police state.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States