If you love cruising down the road with the wind in your hair, there’s a strong possibility that you’ve been fined for speeding at one time or another.
However, it’s probably safe to say you’ve never been caught for going 14 times over the speed limit.
That’s exactly what happened to one driver in Belgium, who was fined when a roadside speeding camera in a small town caught him blowing past the speed limit. The thing is, he was fined the equivalent of a whopping $8,000 (Rs 5,42,440). Why? Apparently because the camera caught him doing a staggering 696 kph in a 50 kph zone.
Sure, it might be possible for some cars to achieve that sort of speed, but certainly not this one in particular. After all, it was a regular Opel Astra, which tops out at a moderate 260 kph. Not wanting to fork over the giant amount of money for a minor traffic violation, the driver contacted local authorities.
Speeding cameras usually use radar to detect the speed of vehicles. The device’s transmitter broadcasts a radio signal in direction, while a receiver, measures radio signals in the area. This can be used to measure how far away an object is depending on how long it takes the reflected signal to return. To measure speed however, it uses a phenomenon called Doppler shift.
When the radar gun and the car are both standing still, the signal being echoed back will have the same wave frequency as the original signal, it mirrors it. But when the car is moving, each part of the signal is reflected at a different point in space, which changes the wave pattern. In addition, when the car is moving away from the radar gun, the second segment of the signal has to travel a greater distance to reach the car than the first segment of the signal.
As it turns out, the radar bit of the camera was still working fine, but it seems a coding glitch in its software was what generated the blitzingly fast speed measurement. The driver, for his trouble, had the $8,000 fine wiped out for a more reasonable $60 ticket (at the accurate speed measurement of 60 kph he was still over the speed limit). Still, a 99.2 percent discount on your speeding ticket sounds like a pretty great deal.