Anyone who has spent time on the road would have noticed speed cameras deployed as a tool to prevent excessive speed. Sometimes people who receive speed camera tickets question the accuracy of the camera.

If a request for review of the fine by Revenue NSW is unsuccessful, the only option if the fine is still disputed, is to take the matter to Court.

Whilst it is possible to challenge the accuracy of speed cameras, it is difficult. The legislation is drafted in a way that the speed camera is presumed to be accurate. Sections 137 – 140 of the Road Transport Act 2013 NSW (“RTA”) stipulate that as long as the prosecutor provides a certificate that the speed camera was an “approved traffic enforcement device” that was “approved for speed measurement”, the reading/photographs generated by the camera is taken as prima facie evidence that the speed camera was accurate and reliable.

Under section 141 of the RTA, it is possible to rebut the presumption that the speed camera is accurate and reliable. This presumption can only be rebutted if the evidence rebutting the speed camera’s accuracy/reliability is “adduced from a person who has relevant specialised knowledge”. In plain English, the speed camera is presumed accurate unless this presumption is rebutted and to rebut it there must be an expert report/evidence supporting challenging or contradicting the accuracy of the camera.

I recently became aware of a self-represented bus driver, who was challenging a speed camera fine in the Local Court. His bus was fitted with cameras and GPS tracking which allowed him to determine the speed he was travelling at the exact time the alleged speeding offence took place. The GPS print out showed the bus was travelling below the speed limit when it was alleged he was speeding. The self-represented litigant, no doubt, turned up at Court that morning confident that he would be successful when defending the matter, after all he had a GPS print out.

Unfortunately for him, he was unaware of the expert evidence requirement imposed by section 141 of RTA to overturn the presumption that the speed camera was correct. As he had no expert report, his GPS print outs, on their own, would be insufficient to overturn the presumption that the speed camera was accurate. This is set out in Roads & Maritime Services v Noble-Hiblen [2019] NSWSC 1230.

Luckily for this bus driver, he received some pro bono advice on the day of hearing advising him of this evidentiary requirement and he was able to adjourn the matter to obtain the required expert report.

As the above example demonstrates, traffic law is often quite complex. For efficient and expert advice in traffic matters contact Everingham Solomons where Helping You is Our Business.

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