Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Will the government automatically refund red-light camera fines and demerit points they weren't entitled to?

Eight red-light cameras have now been shown to have an incorrect timing for the amber light causing thousands of motorists to be fined and lose demerit points.

The cynic in me wonders whether the government will show integrity and refund the money and points they weren’t entitled to. If the government requires people to lodge some form of request they know full well there will be a large number of people who won’t be bothered and many who simply won’t even realise. A way to gain revenue I do not consider to be ethical or appropriate.

For those who were fined at the red-light camera on the intersection of Doncaster Road, Manningham Road and Tram Road I’ve posted videos of the traffic lights as they were when people were fined when the amber timing was set to 3 seconds, and after they’ve been corrected which shows the amber light at 4.5 seconds.

Manningham Road, Doncaster Road, Tram Road Red-Light Camera. Amber Traffic Light set at 3 seconds

Manningham Road, Doncaster Road, Tram Road Red-Light Camera. Amber Traffic Light set at 4.5 seconds

The first picture is taken 0.5 seconds after the light turns red which would indicate anyone with a fine of up to 2 seconds may be entitled to a refund.

The details of the red-light cameras which were not set to AustRoads guidelines are the following:

Terminal Drive & Centre Road, Melbourne Airport
AustRoads guidelines: 3.5 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 16 Nov 10 - 24 Jan 12

Doncaster Road and Williamsons Road/Tram Road, Doncaster
AustRoads guidelines: 4.5 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 5 Oct 11 - 7 Aug 12

Fyans Street & Moorabool Street, South Geelong
AustRoads guidelines: 4.0 secs
Actual time: 3.5 secs
Incorrect amber period: 11 May 10 - 24 Aug 12

High Street & Mahoneys Road/Keon Parade, Thomastown
AustRoads guidelines: 4.5 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 20 Oct 11 - 26 Sep 12

Warrigal Road & Centre Road, Bentleigh East
AustRoads guidelines: 4.0 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 1 Aug 10 - 16 Aug 12

Heatherton Road & Gladstone Road, Dandenong North
AustRoads guidelines: 4.0 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 29 Dec 04 - 16 Aug 12

Foster Street and McCrae Street, Dandenong
AustRoads guidelines: 4.0 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 18 Oct 10 - 16 Aug 12

Stud Road & High Street, Wantirna
AustRoads guidelines: 4.5 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 28 Dec 06 - 23 Aug 12

Whilst I haven’t confirmed (as I was not able to get through on the Fines Victoria telephone line) you should review your fine with regards to the time difference and keep in mind the first picture is taken at 0.5 seconds after the light turns red. Thus I suspect you should be able to add the 0.5 seconds to the time difference between the AustRoads guidelines and the Actual time.

In an ideal world the money and points should be automatically refunded. Being far from an ideal world it would be prudent to lodge a submission for a refund of the money and points.

There is still no guarantee the government will be refunding anything, just that the situation will be reviewed.

My own experience at the Manningham Road/Doncaster Road intersection is that during the time whilst the amber light timing was incorrectly set it created a very dangerous situation for drivers. Whilst approaching the lights at normal speed, well below the 70kph speed limit, the amber light changed so quickly you have to brake much harder than normal which could easily cause a car behind to crash into the rear of a vehicle. I believe the intersection should also be reviewed for crashes which may have occurred as a result of the amber light timing being incorrectly set.

Please let others know about the situation at the intersections mentioned above. The number of people who have been incorrectly fined could easily be in the tens of thousands and may be someone you know. They may not have even mentioned being fined as many people are embarrassed by being fined. In this case they could have easily been fined for something which was not their fault, but the fault of VicRoads, if VicRoads is in charge of setting the timing for the amber light.

Kelvin Eldridge


  1. I say othr lights are also at fault. Back in approx 1992/93 I was fined for a red light incident at a set of lights that did not turn red till I was on the far side of the intersection (almost crossed)having approached on the amber, yet the camera took my picture nd I was fined. My ex husband (married at the time) would not let me fight it even though the rule clearly stated must not enter on the red, I entered on the amber. This was at Sparks Road/Mebourne Road intersection at North Geelong.

  2. I was wondering how the government would shaft citizens with this one and here it is.

    "Because of the new signal programming, the yellow time for the northern approach was set to three seconds. This is appropriate for any vehicles completing a right hand turn but 1.5 seconds too short for vehicles travelling straight, as the speed limit is 70km/h."

    Had the timing of the amber light on Doncaster Road/Williamsons Road (some think this is Manningham Road) been set correctly, the 4.5 seconds would have applied. Since it was set to 3 seconds thousands of people have been booked.

    So now the government makes excuses. The government should be ashamed of itself and the Road Traffic Safety Camera Commissioner Gordon Lewis should go.

    All fines at all these traffic lights should be overturned. If a device is not programmed correctly the device is not working. It is faulty. Saying the equipment was working correctly is just an excuse to enable the government not to refund all fines.

    At the next election people should vote to oust this government. This is the type of behaviour that makes us lose faith in our government, the police and VicRoads. It is only by being transparent and fair can we trust a government. This is not fair.

    Many fines would not have occurred had the traffic light timing been set correctly in the first place. The traffic lights were thus faulty as a unit and thus all fines should be void. At a minimum all fines that would now not occur with the correct timing should be overturned. To rule out those cars that were turning is nothing more than government greed.

    At the next election make a choice. Don't vote for a government that puts money before integrity.

    The government has aimed with this review to minimise its loss of revenue. VicRoads will be happy because it doesn't lose all of the revenue. The Commissioner hasn't acted in the interests of the people and this should be a concern.

    The bottom line. "How can people be fined during the period in question when they would not be fined for doing exactly the same thing today with the equipment set correctly."

    Any other outcome is for the government and government enterprises looking after its income stream and that to me is not fair and responsible government.

    Thousands of Victorians have been shafted. Hopefully at the next election people won't have short memories.

    Kelvin Eldridge

    PS. Links others may find interesting.




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