What To Ask If You Are Pulled Over For Speeding

Have you ever thought you were caught unfairly for speeding. Here is all you need to know on the legality behind speed traps.
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2016-11-14
While you may want to deny your wrongdoing until the final hour, there are some things you can do to get out of a speeding ticket. Or, at least lessen the blow.

Types Of Speed Cameras

Speed-gun-1 There are a number of devices that police use to enforce the speed limits on our roads. Namely, automated and operator speed cameras. When you are pulled over, this is usually from an operated speed camera using either RADAR or LIDAR technology. These portable cameras have a number of technical requirements. This is in order to ensure all speed violations committed by drivers are valid.
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What You CAN Ask

traffic+fine To ensure that the relevant maintenance on these cameras has been done, there are questions you can ask the traffic officer:
  1. Can I see the calibration certificate for the speed measuring equipment used?
  2. Would you please show me the operator's certificate for operating the speed measuring equipment?
  3. Can I see the officer's appointment certificate as a peace officer?
NOTE: When asking for the above, be polite and respectful and simply note it as your defence. The Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) advises motorists to sign and accept an infringement notice, if issued one. This does not mean you are admitting guilt, it simply means you are aware of the incident. If you would like to appeal, all evidence which you think did not live up to the ethical practice of the speeding fine must be presented in court. The JPSA advises:
“It is not in your interests to try and argue a case at the roadside. Remember that a traffic officer is not a magistrate, and the roadside is not a court.”

Things NOT to say

Various roadblocks led by female traffic officers are planned during Women’s Month
  1. Do you know who I am? - An officer who pulled over an actual diva, Katie Price, became Hero of the Office when Ms Price asked him this exact question and feigned ignorance and saddled her with a fine.
  2. Admit to speeding - You will be given an admission of guilt fine.
  3. It is standard to hand over your driver's licence in order for the traffic officer to see your name and ID number. Do not fuss unnecessarily.

Requirements For All Speed Trap Equipment

LIDAR There are a number of technical requirements on these devices to ensure that the measurements they take are valid. Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) chairman, Howard Dembosky, noted the below requirements from the Technical Committee for Standards and Procedures (TCSP) guidelines:
  • An accredited laboratory shall calibrate or verify all speed measuring equipment, all time and time interval measuring equipment. This must happen every 12 months.
  • A land surveyor, an accredited laboratory, or a suitably qualified person shall validate all distance checking markers for validation of speed measuring equipment.
  • No prosecution may be instituted where the speed measurement was taken within 300 metres of the commencement of the speed limit zone.
  • Only speed-measuring or traffic light violation monitoring equipment, installed in permanently secured housing, may be used for automated operations for the prosecution of speed violations.

RADAR Speed Camera Requirements

  • No metal road signs, or vertical flat surfaces, larger than 1m in vertical height, are allowed within 15 degrees on either side of the aiming direction, within a distance of 100m of the antenna.
  • No high-voltage overhead power cables in the radar’s field of detection for at least 100m.

LIDAR Speed Camera Requirements

  • No measurement may be locked beyond 500 metres.
  • When viewed from the gun, there must be a clear, visible separation between the target vehicle and any other visible vehicle.
  • If no photographic evidence is available, the measured distance between the gun and the vehicle must be recorded on the charge sheet.
If you can take anything away from the above advice, it is that manners and politeness go a long way. Throwing a fit and shouting declarations like, "I pay your salary!" and "Don't you have anything better to do?" (real accusations) will get you into far worse punishment than simply being complicit and potentially driving off with a warning.