Photo radar said the car was going more than 70 km/h over the limit. How the owner fought the charge — and won

At 3:12 a.m. on Aug. 15, 2021, an automated speed enforcement (ACE) camera on Avenue Road took a photo that showed a driver racing north on the six-lane roadway at 121 km/h, well above the posted limit of 50 km/h.  The owner of the vehicle was issued a $1,400 fine, the large amount calculated over how much over the limit the vehicle was going.

In a rare move, the vehicle’s owner challenged the charge in court, and won.  On December 1, 2022, the Ontario Court of Justice dismissed the charge after the man behind the wheel swore he wasn’t speeding, and the officer who signed off on the ticket couldn’t provide technical details explaining how he knew the camera was accurate, although the camera had been calibrated less than a year before the charge, legally deeming the photo accurate.

Thankfully, these challenges are rare and should become scarcer in the future as the technology is better understood and trusted. As Ontario’s legal system is still settling questions about the reliability of the new-to-Toronto devices, researchers have found the presence of these devices have reduced speeding. Ironically, one of the defendant’s arguments was that because he knew there was the presence of a speed camera along this particular stretch of Avenue Road and Dupont, he had set the car’s cruise control to 50 km/hour.

There are currently 50 ACE cameras, which are rotated throughout Toronto as part of its Vision Zero road safety plan, as a tool to enhance road safety.

Read more in the Toronto Star (February 1, 2023)

Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash