Police speed guns in the dock as man escapes charge thanks to his own telematics

Published on 5 October 2015 by Gill

A telematics device has been successfully used as evidence in a speeding case, paving the way for thousands of drivers and riders to question the accuracy of police speed measuring units.

This follows recent news that the authorities may be stepping up plans to punish road users for speeding by as little as 1mph - plans which could be hindered if their technology is shown to be less than 100% accurate. 

In this case, a Sunderland based technology entrepreneur has escaped a charge of speeding by using telematics data.

Neil Herron, 52, was alleged to be driving his vehicle at 40 mph in a 30mph limit on 13th January 2014 at 12.15pm. His vehicle's speed was captured by an LTI 20:20 Ultralyte 1000 Speed Measuring Device operated by a mobile patrol. However, Mr Herron was trialling a driver safety telematic device at the time, and the data produced by the device indicated that the vehicle speed was way below the 30mph speed limit.

Herron therefore decided to challenge the police evidence in court. Mr Herron had a Legal Expenses Policy with Churchill Home Legal Expenses. Having outlined his case to Claims Handler Mia Gazzard of Churchill, she confirmed cover would be provided. Finally, 19 months later, the Sunderland Magistrates Court found in his favour after the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence.

As accurate, affordable GPS technology is now being used by more and more motorists, it is only a matter of time before more and more cases of this type come before the courts.

Herron said: “I would not have had any grounds on which to challenge the allegation if I had not had the data from the device. Many drivers have faced similar allegations and believed that they were not speeding but had no way of proving it. Now we have the affordable technology which motorists can use to create driving peace of mind.”

Mr Herron was represented by motoring lawyer Philip Somarakis, who commented:

“Based on previous experience in other cases, laser speed detection devices can produce erroneous results and in this case Mr Herron was convinced he was not speeding as alleged and stated he had telematics data to support that view. When confronted with failings in court the prosecution determined to offer no evidence.”

Mr Somarakis, who is also Company Secretary to the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO), added: “For many years ‎fleet managers have recognised the potential benefits of using technology to monitor driver behaviour. The principal objective of telematics is to encourage safe and efficient driving. We are all in favour of reducing excessive driver speed on our roads; that said, being able to rely on technology to prove compliance with a speed limit should not be underestimated.”

(Pic credit: Western Gazette)