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Speed camera clocks 81mph school bus terror run

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Two drivers who found themselves facing a stern slap on the wrist for allegedly attempting to break the land speed record on the Queen's Highway will not after all face the full weight of the law. In both cases, the offenders were able to prove that the speed camera evidence was flawed.

Ipswich school bus driver Trevor Martin received a letter stating he would be prosecuted for driving his vehicle through a village at 81mph. The 43-year-old told UK tabloid the Mirror: "I was completely shocked when I received the notice as driving is my livelihood. I knew a conviction for going 81mph in a 30mph limit would lead to me losing my licence and being suspended from work. It created a lot of stress and worry. My wife doesn't work and I bring the money in."

Luckily for Mr Martin, the bus's tachograph showed that he had in fact been doing 29mph. Speed camera operator Suffolk SafeCam said of the outrage: "A combination of technical and human error was to blame. The camera wrongly recorded the speed - but a secondary check should have been made, measuring the speed of the vehicle against the white lines on the road. Unfortunately the operator did not complete the process fully and the matter was then automatically passed through the system.

"A secondary check would have showed the vehicle was not exceeding the limit and the matter should have been cancelled. It was corrected immediately when a telephone query was received in the office. Procedures have been reviewed with the intention of ensuring such a mistake can never happen again."

All well and good, but as Martin pointed out: "It would have been harder to prove my innocence in a car. In a way I'm relieved I was in a bus. It made it easier because there was no way I could have been doing that speed." He further noted: "I'm happy to be in the clear, but these cameras assume you're guilty until you're proved innocent."

The Home Office, meanwhile, has launched an investigation into the use of long-range ProLaser III radar guns after Inverness Sheriff Court threw out a speeding prosecution against 34-year-old John MacGregor. The alleged speed junkie was clocked at 132mph - something which surprised both MacGregor and the court since his car has a flat-out top speed of 107mph.

The ProLaser III is "a handheld device to catch vehicles more than a mile away" which was "designed to prevent drivers evading penalties by slowing down for roadside cameras then speeding up afterwards", the Daily Telegraph explains. Following the court's decision, MacGregor's lawyer called for all convictions based on ProLaser III readings to be reviewed. He further advised "motorists charged with speeding on evidence of the device to contest their case".

Finally, and just to further provoke those readers with steam already coming out of their ears, we have the heartwarming news of what must be among the UK's most lucrative speed cameras - stationed on the A610 in Nottinghamshire and with a five-year bonanaza of £4.2m in fines. Its tireless work has accounted for almost a third of all speeding raps in the county, totalling 280,000 motor-borne ne'er-do-wells.

Alison Richards, from the county's "safety" camera partnership, told the BBC: "We're definitely not cashing in. We have to look at driver responsibility first of all. All drivers should know - because they've passed their test - that the road signs indicate that they're coming into a 30mph zone. So they should start to think about slowing down before they get to that 30mph speed limit.

"It is an absolute shame really that we're in the position where cameras are hated so much and that people are paranoid that more cameras are being put up. If drivers slowed down and paid more attention on the road we wouldn't have this issue of casualties or collisions and therefore we wouldn't be looking at installing more cameras."

Here are Nottinghamshire's top ten earning speed cameras. Their record on clocking school buses at hypersonic speeds is not noted:

  • A610 Bobbersmill
  • A1 Elkesley
  • A60 South, Nottingham
  • A6004 Castle Boulevard/Abbey Bridge
  • A60 Woodhouse Road, Mansfield
  • A6514 Nottingham Ring Road
  • A52 Clifton Boulevard
  • A52 Middleton Boulevard
  • A611 Hucknall Road, Nottingham
  • A1 East Markham

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