# Can you be ticketed for inferred speeding?

The only tool needed is a stop watch. 2 lines one mile apart, 60 mph speed limit, it takes a driver 60 seconds to travel that mile. Drive that mile in 50 seconds, you were speeding. An officer on the ground pulls over and tickets the driver. In my state, a week later you will also get a copy of an signed affidavit from the officer in the aircraft. I know someone got nabbed this way, he lawyered up and still lost. He was nabbed driving 97 MPH in his Dodge Viper.

In Finland, speeding fines are based on annual income, so if you’re very highly paid, the speeding fine can be stupendously high.

The Spanish Dirección General de Tráfico claims it is extremely reliable and has no problems enforcing those speed tickets in court. They proudly invite journalists on board the heli, video included (all in Spanish)

Seems sensible to me.

It’s a bit of overkill, but the math saying that, at some point, your instantaneous speed had to equal your average speed is the mean value theorem (MVT). So, back in 1966, the Mathematical Association of America produced a short film called The Theorem of the Mean Policeman using the idea to illustrate the MVT. I note that they specifically show it happening on the NY Thruway; I don’t know if they were referencing an actual practice at the time, though.

In the mid-'80s I used to drive back and forth between New England and Chicago several times a year. Several of the toll roads along the way used the system with tickets that listed the time you entered, so I was always careful to take a break somewhere in the middle, just in case.

My father, a traveling salesman, drove that turnpike route a lot, and he was absolutely certain they used the entry and exit times on the toll tickets to catch speeders. He made up for the speeding by stopping for lunch and gas at what was called “The World’s Largest Rest Stop” (aka, The Archway Rest Stop) at Vinita.

This raises an interesting point. If there is no direct observation of the vehicle when it was speeding, you might be able to argue that you were not the person who committed the crime. You could say that you stopped and picked up a hitchhiker and then allowed him to drive your vehicle while you took a nap. And you could tell the judge you are now shocked to discover that he drove your vehicle at an illegal speed while you were asleep.

One doubts that would fly in court. “Nice try” might be about as much sympathy as you get.

I really don’t think this is a thing. What makes speeding an offence that requires direct observation versus all the other offences you might commit?

Where I live speeding offences incur both financial and a license points penalty. We are not exactly alone in this. The rule is basically that if you claim you were not driving the car, you need to produce the person who was. No matter what, someone is paying a fine. The only thing you can avoid is license points. Cars registered to a business have been one way of avoiding points, but even then it gets difficult. If the driver is not identified to allow demerit points to be allocated, the business still pays, and the fine increases quite significantly. This did form a way for richer drivers with a private company to essentially pay to avoid demerit points. But the fine was never avoidable. The entity that registered the car is responsible for fines unless the driver is identified. (Or there is clear evidence the car really was stolen before the offence.)
Some states here use cameras that have enough resolution to identify the driver. Others don’t, some because of technical issues with the particular camera system, others because of privacy concerns. It is a bit fluid.

Would that matter? When my city had speed cameras, factual innocence was not a defense by itself. You had to name the other party and cajole them to pay up when the city sent a letter, otherwise you were on the hook.

I remember the PA Turnpike doing this in the 80’s.

I believe the general principle is the prosecutor has to prove that you are guilty of the crime not that you, the accused, have to prove that you are innocent.

The “crime” (it was 100% civil) in my city was owning the car that was speeding. All they had to prove was speed and ownership. They had a voluntary procedure for other people to admit that they were driving and take over the fine, but driving was not an element that had to be proven at all, and in fact you were still liable even if you had 100% proof you were not driving. Someone who was totally blind was ticketed, and he couldn’t remember who was driving him in his car that day, so he was found liable.

So it seems that the business of automatically detecting a traffic violation without being able to identify the driver is quite commonplace in many jurisdictions, including here, and the commonality is that the registered vehicle owner is fingered as the primary individual responsible. The details of how this is pursued seem to vary. In this jurisdiction there is no onus on the registered owner to produce the alleged actual driver; he simply is obligated to pay the fine, gets nothing on his driving record, and if he wants to collect the fine from the actual perp, that’s up to him.

Reminds me of the time I saw some jackass in a souped-up muscle car with no muffler pull out of a parking lot into a busy street and smash right into a passing car, spewing car parts in various directions. I was astounded to then see this jackass back up, turn down the street, and take off. I made a point of noting the number on the rear plate but it wasn’t necessary. Various people had stopped to help and one of them held up a car part so everyone could see it – the front license plate, which had fallen off in the impact! I wish I knew how this all ended, but in the case of a hit and run and significant property damage, the registered owner claiming “it wasn’t me, officer” is going to need quite a lot more explanatory detail! This would definitely be a case of “if it wasn’t you, Mr. Registered Owner, then we need to know who it was.” The car may have been stolen but it looked like a piece of shit that nobody would normally steal; more likely, said jackass had a suspended license and no insurance, or was drunk.

Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1101 makes it pretty clear you must be the driver and not merely the owner of the car.

But camera tickets are issued under Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-110.5, which seems to make the owner liable unless they “submit evidence that the owner was not the driver at the time of the alleged violation.”

In the UK, every car has a Registered Keeper who may or may not be the owner. If a camera catches a car breaking the law and the car is not stopped at the time, a letter is sent to the RK asking demanding the name and address of the driver. Failure to provide this information results in a stiff fine.

Of course, people cheat. If you want to escape the points (12=disqualification and speeding=3 points) you could find someone else to take them for you. Many cameras have pretty good resolution though, so they might know it’s baldy you and not blondy wife driving. There have been some high profile cases of this:

Fiona Onasanya was found guilty on 19 December 2018 of perverting the course of justice for lying to police to avoid being prosecuted for speeding. She claimed that it was her brother in the driving seat. She really took a big hit, trying to avoid the penalty:

She was expelled from the Labour Party
She lost a recall election.
She was booted out of the solicitor’s roll
She got three months in clink.

While looking up Fiona, I found this highly amusing report about her autobiography: We read disgraced ex-MP Fiona Onasanya's autobiography and it was... a lot - Alistair Ryder - Cambridgeshire Live

Most of the A9 between Stirling and Inverness has them, about 150 miles. I don’t know what the longest stretch between individual cameras is but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more than 10 miles.

When they brought in the A9 cameras, someone was whining to me about not being able to overtake slow lorries. I told him that if he’d been doing 50mph for a long period, a brief spell of 70mph in a 60mph zone is not going to put his average over the limit. I don’t know whether he understood this but on the other hand there are still the other type of speed cameras at places on the A9 so there remains a risk being caught the old way.

Someone else on a message board thought that his “average journey time” would somehow measure his full A to B journey time including the sections on roads that didn’t have AJT cameras.

A friend in the 80s traveled back and forth between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as part of his job. The work-around then was to say you lost your ticket. He paid the highest possible fare, just a bit more than what he owed, but way less than the real fare plus speeding fine.

The NYS VTL already allows for some speeding tickets in NYC (and Nassau and Suffolk) to be issued based on photos. Speed camera violations are not crimes and the law authorizing them imposes liability on the owner of the car , not the driver, just like the owner is liable for red light camera tickets and parking tickets. In fact in NYC, camera violations are adjudicated by the parking violations bureau.

Not necessarily

(e) The state, a county, a city and county, or a municipality may not require a registered owner of a vehicle to disclose the identity of a driver of the vehicle who is detected through the use of an automated vehicle identification system. However, the registered owner may be required to submit evidence that the owner was not the driver at the time of the alleged violation.

I think it is open that the state et al. would still need to prove its case within the standards of evidence (this sounds like a civil issue not criminal). I don’t think they can simply say, “You are the owner. You are liable irregardless.”

Camera tickets are pretty easy to get out of in California if you are willing to fight them in court. (“That’s not me” “Case dismissed”) The system works because most people after getting the ticket in the mail just mail in the check.