By on May 13, 2018

You’ve probably received a speeding ticket in the mail before. Weeks after the incident, once you’ve forgotten all about it, you open a letter to read that you’ve been busted by a cleverly placed speed camera and have to pay a fine. Well, that’s what happened to a Belgian driver but he was fined approximately $7,800 for traveling 432 mph in a 30-mph zone.

Obviously, something went wrong. In addition to the 400-mph mark being well out of reach of his Opel Astra, the speed isn’t in the realm of possibilities for any production car currently in existence. Hell, Top Fuel dragsters don’t even reach those speeds on level pavement. In fact, you’d have to purchase a private jet or build a custom land speed car for Bonneville if you wanted that kind of velocity. 

According to The Daily Telegraph, the city of  Quiévrain was nice enough to round down the driver’s fine to 406.5 mph in the letter. Despite the kindness, the driver decided to fight the ticket anyway.

Police attributed the error to a malfunction with the camera, getting him off the hook for the initial fine, but still slapped him with a citation for 6 mph over the legal limit. The logic here was that the camera must have caught him doing something wrong or else it would have never been triggered in the first place. That’s some specious reasoning but, since it only came with a $60 penalty, the driver was less inclined to argue.

Exactly when the incident took place is unclear. While shared earlier this month via social media, an incomplete photo of the letter appears to include an order or payment date for October of 2010. However, the majority of outlets claim that the incident had taken place when the driver was 32-years old — which would have been within the last year.

[Image: Opel]

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49 Comments on “Opel Astra Driver ‘Caught’ By Speed Camera Traveling Over 400 MPH...”


  • avatar

    Three facts emerge.
    1) Anyone who thinks speed cameras are always accurate is terminally naive.
    2)Anyone who assumes ticket evidence is carefully reviewed in advance is terminally naive.
    3)It is clear that Belgium uses speed cameras as a for-profit racket because any obscenely wrong error like this one would get a total dismissal from any moral government.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree that not giving the dude a mulligan after the obvious faulty equipment is plain evil.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “as a for-profit racket”

      We do the same in the US, on the Interstates mining the Highways, and with speed traps by local cops.

      Whenever a jurisdiction runs low on money, cops are sent out to enforce the laws more stringently and supplement the budget.

      Been going on since the invention of the wheel.

      • 0 avatar

        I am a member of the National Motorists Association that fights these abuses, with some success.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Good for you! I find it easier to use the cruise control and keep it right at the speed limit in states like CA, NB, Oregon and WA where highway robbery by cops is encouraged.

          Whenever a class graduates from the LE Academy for one of those states, you can bet your tires that the rookies will be out there, writing citations like they’re going out of style to justify their jobs and new PPVs.

          Have a kid who’s been there and done that. After 12 years on the highways and byways of CA he could no longer justify “Fvcking with the Motorists” and went to work for the Feds.

          Better pay. Less controversy.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “Whenever a class graduates from the LE Academy for one of those states, you can bet your tires that the rookies will be out there, writing citations like they’re going out of style to justify their jobs and new PPVs.”

            ERMAHGERD!! SPEED KIIILLLLZ!!!

          • 0 avatar

            When posted limits are set at perhaps the 17th percentile speed of free flowing traffic to arbitrarily define 83% of the drivers as violators or criminals, I find it safer and more comfortable to drive around the 85th percentile speed – roughly 8 to 12 mph above the 17th posted limit and watch VERY carefully for the “road tax collectors” that want to pilfer my wallet in speed trap rackets. I use a Valentine One and the last speeding ticket on my record is in the summer of 1995.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            jcwconsult, 85th percentile would probably work for many places and radar/laser detectors are a great way to get a heads-up if they are being used, unless you’re right on top of a posted/rolling cop.

            But in a lot of places they also use the ‘timed-distance’ method, a measured distance between two points on the road, usually a quarter mile or half mile apart, that can be timed from the air (by plane) and then radio’d to a cop posted in that zone.

            Usually the demarcations are two broad white lines, spaced a quarter-mile apart, that cut across all lanes, in both directions of the road.

            Or a cop on the road can time that distance traveled with an electronic stopwatch that calculates speed pretty accurately by the use of two poles alongside the road, usually at the same locations as the broad white lines.

            The bottom line, tap the right people, usually the tourists and out-of-staters, and they’re not going to come back and to have their day in court.

            Kaaaaa-ccccchhhhingggg.

            I think CA has perfected the speed-citation system to extract maximum money from the drivers for the least cost.

            I was recently told that they are now citing drivers who bring gasoline in 5-gallon jugs into CA from AZ and old Mexico, something that I used to do whenever I went to CA.

            This from of my grandson’s wife who is a CHiP working the I-5 corridor in SoCal.

            So the racket has cranked up a notch.

      • 0 avatar
        stevelovescars

        To make matters worse, aren’t some jurisdictions now charging EXTRA if you choose to fight your ticket in court?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I believe the EXTRA you refer to is the COURT COST which the judge assesses if you choose to appear in court.

          This is over and above the fine which you have to pay because a person cited for speeding is presumed guilty until they can prove themselves innocent.

          I don’t know anyone who was able to prove themselves innocent of speeding in a speedtrap or otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      In order for your argument to be true, Belgium would first have to have a moral government.

  • avatar

    Luckily, in the US, you need to be personally served with a ticket for points to go on a license, and most places you get at least a basic trial with a Judge (NYC excepted)..where we DO have speed cams (places like NYC or Wash, DC where direct democracy does not work) they are usually nuisance fines treated like a parking tickets.

    Cams only make money if the red light intervals are too short, or the speed limits set too low. Every time I read about England or Australia, I wonder why every camera isn’t pulled down every night. Do these devices actually have popular support ?

    • 0 avatar
      Pierre

      You can fight a ticket in court in Europe too, should you chose to do so. Speeding fines in Europe are actually rather less when compared to the US. Last but not least, from my experience as a driver on both sides of the ocean, the cops in Europe are less inclined to stay hidden, where they are certain the catch will be plentiful. Moreover, in Europe, speed cameras are often signaled, so that you are aware of them. As a result, I got 7X more citations in the US versus Europe. It was a steep learning curve for me, and no I do not speed all the time but sometimes when the interstate is straight, dry and with light traffic, I do feel driving around 85 to 90 mph.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      In the UK (not just England) there is a bit of an attitude that if you’re caught it’s a fair cop. If you weren’t able to see the camera and got caught then you pay up.

      Fixed speed cameras are usually signed, painted bright yellow and have line markings on the road.

      The camera vans are a little sneakier, but even so are usually painted on the rear doors with flourescent yellow and red chevrons.

      • 0 avatar

        Thank you for this. In the States the game is to hide, in my area it’s the classic “just over the hill” or worse, sit on the on ramps and shoot the victim in the back, which has the added benefit for them of reducing detector range.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          A good eye can often still catch them on the ramps if you know what you’re looking for. A long, long time ago I used to convoy trains of rental cars around the country and more than once dodged a ‘ramp trap’ by recognizing it before they got radar lock. They would have had a heyday with a train of 10-20 cars all traveling at the same speed.

        • 0 avatar

          I look right up at freeway ramps if they are not visible when approached. Radar and Lidar shot from the back needs to be at a shallow cosine angle to be accurate, so if you see them about 80-90 degrees perpendicular to you, you have time to slow down before they can get an accurate reading.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            You just confused 99% of the drivers on the road by using the word “cosine.”

            It’s one of my pet peeves when guilty conscience drivers hit their brakes when they are perpendicular to a speed trap- or even a cop parked under a tree in a gravel parking lot so he can catch up on his paperwork. Apparently there is radar, lidar, and (unbeknownst to me) *magic radar*.

            For goodness’ sake, the cop is just a simple radar gun to give you a simple ticket, not a air defense tracking radar to launch a volley surface to air missiles. Nitwits!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Problem is, hitting the brakes is a tip-off to them anyway. They see your lights, they know you’re braking and therefore know you were speeding.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “Problem is, hitting the brakes is a tip-off to them anyway.”

            I know! It’s so hilariously un-sly. It’s gotta be a running joke with traffic cops.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            On I-95 through Maryland, you wouldn’t believe how many near-crashes have been caused by a speeder slamming on the brakes when they see a cop in the median ahead. More than once it’s called enough of a ripple that people are slowing down long after the cop himself has left.

          • 0 avatar
            arach

            I disagree with the brake lights being “admission of guilt”.

            A cop needs to get a reading on you. You’d be surprised how often they get errors , and it takes a moment to get a reading. You also don’t know if they have their sights on you vs someone else.

            so brake, because if your traveling 72 in a 65, and he gets a 67 in a 65 reading because you brake before he gets you clocked, then sure he may have seen your brake lights but he’s got nothing on you. If you just blatantly maintain your speed, your giving him all the time in the world to get a reading on you.

            this is especially true with certain headlights which can interfere with laser, or if you are using laser jammers. With jammers the rule of thumb is the slow down and then shut them of so they get a clean reading on you at appropriate speed.

            even if they see brake lights, if they don’t catch you speeding, they probably won’t waste their time with you when they can clock someone in a few minutes anyway.

            What are they going to ticket you for if they don’t clock you speeding?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You’d have to take that one to the court to fight, then. Because he’ll ticket you even without a radar reading if you were obvious about your speeding and braking. There are other ways to slow down that don’t require stabbing the brakes.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    “That particular Starfighter game was supposed to be delivered to Vegas, not some flea-speck trailer park in the middle of tumbleweeds and tarantulas.”

  • avatar
    gasser

    I would think that any error of that magnitude would call the calibratiio of the the equipment to be called int o question.
    Just because the authorities “think” that the motorist had to be speeding to trigger the camera, doesn’t mean he really was speeding.
    So much for my delusions that governments were “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

  • avatar
    Fred

    Of course if a Buick Wagon can even seem like it’s going that fast, I just might trade in my TSX wagon.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Based on the available numbers, he was only doing 2mph over the speed limit. I wouldn’t have accepted even that ticket without some form of proof.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Hey, maybe the guy was trying to restage the Chevy JATO Rocket experiment that the Darwin Awards made famous a few years ago.

    (Of course, that story turned out to be as factual as this one in Belgium did.)

  • avatar
    OzCop

    In most jurisdictions, particularly where traffic citations are considered misdemeanors, traffic citations can not be issued without at least one of the five senses witnessed the infraction. The writer has to see it, smell it, touch it, taste, or hear it.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      That’s reassuring.

      In some parts of the United States, the citation gets certified by affidavit from a sworn police officer. More often than not this is just a rubber stamp process. Occasionally there will be a story in the news about an outlandish mistake (wrong model and color of car in the picture because of a glitch where the camera read one digit wrong on the license plate). Of course, there is never any followup story about the certifying officer being charged with perjury…

      I know, I know, why do I hate safety, think of the children, if it saves just one life, blah blah blah

      • 0 avatar

        One of the “poster children” was a Baltimore speed camera citation for 38 mph in a 25 zone – issued to a vehicle that the video clearly showed was stopped at a red light. The “careful reviews” by for-profit camera company personnel and sworn police officers are sometimes (expletives deleted) frauds.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Smells Like Teens Speeding.

  • avatar
    scarey

    GET ME ONE OF THOSE CARS ! With Air Conditioning and a radio. I don’t care what color. I will come by to test drive it and give you the check in the morning as soon as you open…

  • avatar
    threeer

    Ok…years ago I drove a top-spec Opel Vectra GTS along the A8 at about 240 kph (indicated). Maybe I asked for the wrong Opel. I should have requested an Astra, obviously!

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Darn it, threeer, you beat my friend’s record. I was once a passenger in a rental Vectra B that got up to 208 kph. (At the time, northern Spain had toll roads that in certain places were very nice and had virtually no traffic or speed enforcement; I’m not sure if things have changed.)

      In watching some archived reviews of the Vectra on YouTube, it seems to be a poster child for the “I’m a spoiled car reviewer and am going to rip this car because it’s not an M5 or whatever other expensive car I drove for free last week” phenomenon. Maybe the line workers in Rüsselsheim had a terrific day when they put ours together, but it was a great road trip car for us. Three friends and I covered 1,100 km in ours. We loved the five-door configuration, which remains a rarity in the States.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    I think it’s worth repeating here as a reminder to any DMV drivers who haven’t read this yet:
    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/09/dc-camera-ticket-overturned-over-accuracy-doubts/

  • avatar
    IBx1

    I see our camera clocked you going faster than a commercial jetliner but our cameras are still infallible so here’s a ticket anyway.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Truly some strange judicial reasoning.

    Generally the rule is at least in Ontario, if there is a serious error on the citation, then it is withdrawn/invalid. Not a minor error, but as in this example a serious one. They cannot charge you with one thing, and then change it, in court.

    Still with no night courts in the GTA, you have to jump through hoops in order to fight a ticket. And take a day off work. So in many instances it is not worth the time or money. Unless you use one of the many ‘ticket fighting’ companies that have sprung up to do this.

    Spent a couple of years on the Department, get your paralegal license and advertise that an ‘ex police officer’ will be representing you.

    • 0 avatar

      Relevant to this. New York State and Canada Provinces swap information, so you need to be concerned with a ticket in your opposite. This is the only international points transfer I’ve ever heard of.

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