Paul Clamp was recently issued with a speeding ticket for travelling at an average of 77mph on a section of the A14 that was restricted to 50mph.
When Paul checked the evidence provided with the letter, he quickly realised that the pictures of the van on exit was different to that of HIS van on entry to the average speed check zone. Paul was shocked to see that he ha been mistaken as the two vans looked nothing alike, despite being similar number plates with only one character difference. Funnily enough, Paul also recognised that the second van happened to belong to a friend.
This opens up criticism of the whole automated system behind issuing speeding tickets.
Firstly, the average speed check cameras work by reading the number plates of individual vehicles. This would make sense, you would think, as each number plate is unique to a vehicle and the details can be accessed through the DVLA database. However, the recognition software here is clearly in question as it would have to be flawless to prevent these mistakes from happening. Clearly the camera software is in the need of some tweaking.
On the other hand, wouldn’t it be better if these fines were administrated by actual humans? Whilst we can all agree, the Police will have to deal with an overwhelming amount of paperwork solely created by speeding fines (almost 2 million a year according to Home Office figures), incidents like this could be avoided with a touch of human verification.
Paul Clamp referred to it as playing “spot the difference” between the two vans – the number plates may have confused the camera, but the differences between both the vehicles and the driver were plainly clear. Although, claims police have before admitted that this is a common mistake. Surely having a human eye checking over the evidence for systems like this would be a worthwhile expenditure and would stop this potential can of worms from being opened further down the line.