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locutus

Mrs Locutus in Court re: Trafic light

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I'm going to post some basics of what has happened so far.

 

Mrs Locutus was turning left at a traffic light that has a Gatso camera watching for red light offenses.

 

1st I'd like to say that Mrs Locutus is adamant that the light was amber when she crossed the line. Now we have been sent quite a bit of information, including a copy of the camera's certificate of calibration, 2 photographs of the offense and correspondence from the police that they are "not going to intervene with the natural progression" so we are invited to either accept a fixed penalty OR contest this in court.

 

The 1st photograph. The police say at this point she was traveling at 18 MPH and this was taken 1.2 seconds after the red light was illuminated. Mrs Locutus says it was taken much less that a second after the red light came on... almost instantly. Mrs Locutus's rear wheel were just before the white line in this photograph.

 

The 2nd photograph. The police say this was taken 2.4 seconds after the Red light was illuminated. Mrs locutus's rear wheels are about 10 feet past the line.

 

The police say the amber light was lit for 3 seconds, this was in a 40 MPH zone and the road was dry.

 

 

Now, by my maths and assuming all the information is correct (which Mrs Locutus denies) the car would have been about dead on the line when the red light came on, and if her speed was constant you can see this from the photographs.

 

Also by my maths, If you assume constant deceleration, the highway code braking distance of 24 Meters (78.74 Feet) This will have taken 2.68 seconds to come to a complete stop. When you add thinking distance of 2/3rds of a second, that takes the total stopping time at 40 miles per hour to 3.38 seconds. Longer than the amber light was illuminated. Now, I appreciate that is going to be a tough sell to a judge (that the lights allow less time than it actually takes to stop) but would that be admissible in a court as a defense.

 

Everyone that has seen the photo, and I say that they are both the same amount of time after the red say it's very close, and they'd not like to say if she was over the line or not, and I appreciate that going through an amber is against the law if you can safely stop, but I really think the facts leave a lot of doubt.

 

Now add into the mix that neither myself or Mrs Locutus have ever been to court for anything so we're nervous about this whole experience... can anyone offer any advice?


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Also by my maths, If you assume constant deceleration, the highway code braking distance of 24 Meters (78.74 Feet) This will have taken 2.68 seconds to come to a complete stop. When you add thinking distance of 2/3rds of a second, that takes the total stopping time at 40 miles per hour to 3.38 seconds. Longer than the amber light was illuminated. Now, I appreciate that is going to be a tough sell to a judge (that the lights allow less time than it actually takes to stop) but would that be admissible in a court as a defense.

 

Surely if you are too close to stop when the amber comes on you would be through the lights BEFORE they go red? If you are 24 metres away from a junction travelling at 40mph when they go amber only an idiot would slam on the brakes?

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It's a sharp left directly after the lights, she needed to just about stop to take the turn, but my point is that the 3 seconds from amber to red do not allow enough time to stop, and you would have to cross the lights on a red.


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It's a sharp left directly after the lights, she needed to just about stop to take the turn, but my point is that the 3 seconds from amber to red do not allow enough time to stop, and you would have to cross the lights on a red.

 

I understood you, maybe I am just confused? In 3 secs at 40mph you travel 53 metres so if you were within 50 meters you would make it thru before it goes red, if you are over 50 metres you would be able to brake in time.

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She could not go at a constant 40 miles per hour as she needed to just about stop for the left turn, she was more likely around the 24 meter point from the turn and braking anyway


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Or send a cheque or postal order payable to Reclaim the Right Ltd.

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She could not go at a constant 40 miles per hour as she needed to just about stop for the left turn, she was more likely around the 24 meter point from the turn and braking anyway

 

If she was already slowing down to turn left your argument about not being able to brake from 40mph is flawed then.

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She was braking for the point just behind the trafic lights and that is exactly what she did. The stoping distance taking longer than the amber light she could not stop before the line.


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She could not go at a constant 40 miles per hour as she needed to just about stop for the left turn, she was more likely around the 24 meter point from the turn and braking anyway

 

 

As you say she was reducing her speed anyway ready for the turn (lets say towards 15mph) the stopping distance from 20mph is 40ft, or 12mtrs. Bearing in mind she was already braking, therefore thinking distance and time to move foot from acelatator to brake is practically reduced to nil, and she should already have been anticipating a green light turning to amber anyway.

 

Taking all this into account with the police's statement that the amber was lit for 3seconds (which btw is a very long amber but would be demonstrated to be accurate to the court by the council if necessary I believe), I think you would be on a hiding to nothing trying to contest this evidence to be inaccurate based on your calculations.

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I remember having an argument in my younger years (owning the road, knowing absolutely everything), and was pulled my a (surprisingly) nice officer. I went through just after a light turned red.

 

He said, red means stop, amber means stop, green means be prepared to stop. I said yes but if Id have slammed on the car behind may have gone into the back of me (HE was the car behind me I must point out), to that he stated would be his problem for not traveling at a safe distance. Still dont think I would slam on, rather have my rear bumper go through a red light than some one go smashing into my backside with my daughter in the back, still they just diont see it that way :mad:

 

We are lucky where we live, we only have one of those cameras on our traffic lights, and thats heading away from here, our town is far more focussed on general speed cameras and ANPR cameras.

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Well, I actually think that shows a little doubt, but I will accept your view that the court will side with the police's statement.

 

Do you have an opinion on the fact that Mrs Locutus says she was passed the line on amber and saw the light change to red (as their is a 3rd light on the far corner of the street she was pulling into) as she was passed it, then it flashed a split second later, and the information says their was a 1.2 second gap? Is their any way to challenge the calibration of the Gatso?


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I remember having an argument in my younger years (owning the road, knowing absolutely everything), and was pulled my a (surprisingly) nice officer. I went through just after a light turned red.

 

He said, red means stop, amber means stop, green means be prepared to stop. I said yes but if Id have slammed on the car behind may have gone into the back of me (HE was the car behind me I must point out), to that he stated would be his problem for not traveling at a safe distance. Still dont think I would slam on, rather have my rear bumper go through a red light than some one go smashing into my backside with my daughter in the back, still they just diont see it that way :mad:

 

We are lucky where we live, we only have one of those cameras on our traffic lights, and thats heading away from here, our town is far more focussed on general speed cameras and ANPR cameras.

 

 

My copy of the highway code says Amber means stop unless by doing so it would cause an accident. There would be a defence for the Amber but not for red as it would be poor anticipation if you were unable to stop for that.

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Mrs Locutus is adamant that the light was amber, combined with the fact that it is neer impossible to turn left from the point of being committed to pass the lights in less than 3 seconds, What do you think the chances are in court?


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The 1st photograph. The police say at this point she was traveling at 18 MPH and this was taken 1.2 seconds after the red light was illuminated. Mrs Locutus says it was taken much less that a second after the red light came on... almost instantly. Mrs Locutus's rear wheel were just before the white line in this photograph.

 

Incredible that despite thinking she was driving correctly she noted the timing of the lights and camera and could even determine the difference between 1.2 secs and less than 1 sec and when the red light came on considering she had passed the lights. I think a computer controlled recording device would be more accurate than a driver who was concentrating on the road and steering around a corner.

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There are 3 lights at his junction, 1 is on the far side of the corner that she was going around and was just about straight in front of the car, so I don't think seeing a light change from amber to red as being strange, and I also don't find seeing a flash strange. Mrs Locutus felt relieved at the time that she was passed the line when the red light came on and also noted that the red light and the flash were almost (not quite) simultaneous (not 1.2 seconds apart as the police documents sugest).

 

I appreciate that the points you make are probably going to be the same as the points the police will raise.

 

However Mrs Locutus is adamant that she went thrugh an amber, and that she was commited to passing the light when the amber light came on.

 

So, if we talk worst case scenario, we take this all the way thrugh court, What do you guys think the penilty will be?


If in doubt, contact a qualified insured legal professional (or my wife... she knows EVERYTHING)

 

Or send a cheque or postal order payable to Reclaim the Right Ltd.

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Penalties through court, I believe, are generally higher than those first offered. There is also a court cost and a victim's surcharge that is also added on.

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So you don't think that due to it being a first offense in 5 years they may go lighter? Or the fact that she is adamant that the light was amber and she was committed may make them lower the penilty? I agree that the court costs will probably be added, but what is the "victim's surcharge"?

 

As I said in my 1st post, neither of us have ever been to court for anything.


If in doubt, contact a qualified insured legal professional (or my wife... she knows EVERYTHING)

 

Or send a cheque or postal order payable to Reclaim the Right Ltd.

to

923 Finchley Road London NW11 7PE

 

 

Click here if you fancy an email address that shows you mean business! (only £6 and that will really help CAG)

 

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So you don't think that due to it being a first offense in 5 years they may go lighter? Or the fact that she is adamant that the light was amber and she was committed may make them lower the penilty? I agree that the court costs will probably be added, but what is the "victim's surcharge"?

 

As I said in my 1st post, neither of us have ever been to court for anything.

 

She can be adamant that the light was amber - but that still means stop. The offence relates to allowing any part of the vehicle to cross the stop line once the lights show a red aspect.

 

You could try to challenge the calibration of the camera, but it won;t get you very far - it is required by its Home Office type approval to be calibrated annually and you already have the current calibration certificate. The Police have been extremely helpful to you; there is no requirement to produce any evidence to the defendant until a not guilty plea is entered at Court.

 

If you go to Court, you are almost certain to lose. The Court will accept the timings of the calibrated electronics over your wife's opinion. Sentence as an absolute minimum will be a fine and points as per the FPN (although they may increase the fine for wasting the Court's time). plus prosecution costs (generally £30 - £40), plus victim surcharge of £15 which is automatically added by statute to any summary sentence dealt with by fine.

 

This is probably not what you want to hear, but my advice is accept the FPN and move on.

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Lets look at an interesting aspect of all this.

 

I am driving 38 tonne artic around the same junction. because of the sheer length and size I would obviously be going quite slow. Just after my cab reaches the line the amber light illuminates, by the time my rear axle crosses the line the lights would have been red for several seconds.

 

I would have driven through a green light and also driven through a red light. I would not have been aware of the red light uinless there was a visible repeater on the other side of the junction. I say visible, because a large vehicle or bus could easily obscure one, if it was there at all.

 

So. Would I be guilty?

 

As for the OP's Mrs. The camera doesn't lie. If her back wheel was just about crossing the line as the lights went red, then she should have stopped. As pointed out above, amber means stop.

 

If you are approaching a green light it doesn't 'suddenly' change to amber. Suddenly would imply 'unexpected'. If the lights are green they WILL go to amber. You just do not know when exactly, so the correct thing would be to assume they WILL change to amber and adjust your speed accordingly. If by the time you are near the line they do change, you are already to stop anyway, so no change to the plan, If however you are so near that to try and stop could cause an accident or you just won't be able to stop, then by all means carry on (this is on amber NOT red).

 

The problem is the driver that assumes (wrongly) that the lights will stay green and get a nasty surprise when they 'suddenly' change.

 

For your wife to remember such detail is nothing short of BS I am afraid. My wife was also adament she had not driven through a red light. The pics said a very different thing.

 

Go to court if you are feeling rich and ready for a defeat. The magistrates will not appreciate you frankly wasting the courts time.

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Lets look at an interesting aspect of all this.

 

I am driving 38 tonne artic around the same junction. because of the sheer length and size I would obviously be going quite slow. Just after my cab reaches the line the amber light illuminates, by the time my rear axle crosses the line the lights would have been red for several seconds.

 

I would have driven through a green light and also driven through a red light. I would not have been aware of the red light uinless there was a visible repeater on the other side of the junction. I say visible, because a large vehicle or bus could easily obscure one, if it was there at all.

 

So. Would I be guilty?

 

Technically, yes.

 

However, I would assume that common sense would prevail.

 

The worrying situation is where a car is stopped by traffic having fully crossed the stop line. Once the traffic clears, that driver commits no red light offence if he/she then proceed regardless of the aspect colour displayed.

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