Friday, September 11, 2009

Photo Speed Traps

This is a true story, and it happened to a close friend of mine who lives in Los Angeles County. About two years ago he received a photo-radar traffic ticket in the mail, I've never gotten one of those, but I've always dreaded the possibility. We have MANY photo speed traps here in Northern California too!
Anyhow, my friend was shocked to get his first, especially since it was a red light violation that would cost him $425,00! "When and where did I blow a red light?" he thought. Well now, come to think of it he finally remembers a day he was running fast and late for work on a familiar street...that same street listed on the ticket along with the time and date.
"I guess I DID run that light" he reflects..."but I'm going to fight it anyway!" (And, this is how my friend explained how he would beat this ticket in traffic court.)
"The only pictures they take with those photo-radar traps are blurry shots of the license plate and the driver's head through the windshield. How on earth can that prove I ran a red light?" "Besides, there's no cop in court to challenge me, just the judge...who will listen favorably to the great story I have in store".
My friend made it sound so easy. Let's see just how easy it was. Finally, his day in court came. My friend was called in front of the judge, just as expected. There was no citing officer there to argue against him, just as expected. And, he was asked to tell the judge his side of the story, just as expected.
So my friend explained: "Your honor when I approached the intersection the light was yellow, and just about to go red. When I began to stop I noticed the car behind me right on my tail. He WASN'T going to stop! So, rather that being hit from behind...I continued through the light safely, along with the other car."
"That is an interesting explanation young man", said the judge. "Now, let's see what REALLY happened."'
Just then, two court attendants wheeled out a large TV screen. The judge then clicked the remote control he had handy at his desk and cued up my friend's violation. It was a video tape that clearly,crisply and in full motion,,, revealed the entire incident.
What was seen was my friend's car traveling trough the intersection against the red light going about 15 miles over the speed limit. More importantly, there wasn't another vehicle anywhere in sight. His was the only car on screen. THIS was not as expected.
The judge then asked my friend if he cared to ammend his story...which my friend did.(With a red face) He was then ordered to pay the $425.00.
The moral of this story is.... don't waste your time in traffic court fighting a photo generated ticket, unless you can soundly defeat its 'Hollywood Video' evidence!!..
Thanks, and drive carefully.


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