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Telematics successfully used to overturn speeding prosecution

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A motorist has escaped a charge of speeding by using telematics data. 

The case is believed to be the first of its kind and could open the floodgates for hundreds of thousands of motorists.

Neil Herron 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, 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. 

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 no way of proving it. Now we have the affordable technology which motorists can use to create driving peace of mind.”

Philip Somarakis, partner at law and professional services firm Gordon Dadds, said: "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."

He 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."

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  • Colin A - 02/10/2015 13:05

    It is also not unheard of for the Mobile Speed Trap to use a speed captured by a Driver doing; say 40 in a 30 at 09.00am and then the next vehicle that 'looks' fast, at say 09.20am, gets pulled over and shown they were doing 40 too, as they system wasn't reset!

  • Darren - 02/10/2015 13:43

    I was caught doing 41 in a 30 last year. I know I wasn't doing that speed but had no way of proving this. I remember seeing the van and checking my speedo, it should me doing 30mph. As Nissan had already proved my speedo over-reads by 10%, I felt I was safe, I then got a notice in the post two weeks later saying I was doing 41! Fortunately for me, I was able to do a speed awareness course and avoid points, but I can't get caught again for 3 years. I need to get a camera which captures my vehicles speed installed for next time. I also wonder how many other people have had speeding fines and points when they weren't actually speeding. "the data produced by the device indicated that the vehicle speed was way below the 30mph speed limit", so it wasn't out by a few MPH, or not even by 10mph, this is a significant margin of error and should be seriously looked into!

  • FrankH - 03/10/2015 09:03

    So Neil Herron was "trialling" the device was he? That sounds as if he was a customer evaluating it with a view to buying it. Let's see what Google has to say. Google: "neil herron telematics" On the first page, this looks interesting: http://www.endole.co.uk/company/09263397/creative-telematic-holdings-ltd Oh yes, "Ownership: "... "Neil Herron" It might be a useful device but this story was just a little bit too good to be true.

  • Peter - 05/10/2015 11:38

    Surely the mobile patrol would have been able to see that he was "way below 30 mph" and that the 40 mph reading was erroneous?

  • Ester Graham - 05/10/2015 18:52

    Well it woud be interesting to see exactly what the data was from the device and how it showed the speed was below 30mph. Maybe Mr Herron can show it to us all.

  • Jim Keltie - 05/10/2015 21:56

    Anyone who knows how a court works will know that when the CPS offer no evidence then no evidence from the defendant will have been heard. In that case how can the telematics device have assisted Mr Herron? It would also be interesting to see how Mr Herron has managed to get the time on his machine to be the same as the time on the police machine. Yes his is a GPS time but the police speed gun and video doesn't use GPS so his data is not at all reliable. Magistrates are not likely to prefer that to the police evidence; how could they?

  • Vic - 06/10/2015 15:34

    Jim, could it not be that Herron presents shows his hand before trial and the prosecution "offers no evidence"? As for the GPS time - have a think about how GPS actually works. Is it not based upon precise timing? At face value, this seems like Herron has put forward a defence and the prosecution has decided it aint worth it. Hardly going to set a precedent but hey.

  • Stuart - 08/10/2015 19:49

    Looks like CPS could do with a Telematics Expert Witness.........

  • Greg McGarry - 26/10/2015 00:52

    This is an absolutely ridiculous case and the Judge erred, in my opinion, in accepting the telematics data. The LTI Ultralyte 20/20 takes one-third of a second to establish a vehicle's speed. On the other hand, a telematics device, depending on its configuration, sends only 'relevant', periodic information to the Cloud. This is primarily to reduce the cost of cellular comms. 'Relevant' data is data pertaining to the ethos of the Insurer who supplied the device -the metrics used to gauge a safe vs unsafe driver amongst peers within a given book -e.g. harsh acceleration or braking. It is practically a certainty that a short period of travelling at any given speed is omitted from the normal reports for the device -unless an exception event was occurring at the time or, occurred immediately afterward, such as a crash. Only during a crash is highly granular data transmitted so as to build a 'before, during and after' snapshot of the event. The judge should have relied on the speed metering apparatus and not on the information on the server. The only way to have some real chance of genuinely disproving such an allegation would be to extract the cached data on the device. However, this would have been overwritten shortly after the alleged incident as no 'event' of importance had occurred, so far as the telematics device was concerned. It would likely have been lost by the time the Insured got around to checking his/her data.

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