Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Andrei As a matter of law the limitations of physics do not exist

Physical scientists know it, engineers work with it while seventh form physics students struggle to grasp it, the "it" being that you can never measure anything precisely.

All you can do is estimate the value of whatever it is you are measuring and know the tolerance of that measurement.

You choose your measurement apparatus to reflect the precision required for the job at hand.

But when it comes to traffic law apparently the apparatus in the hands of the enforcers is perfect.

The Appeals Court has just ruled so
(T)he judges said as a matter of law, there was no tolerance to driving in excess of the speed limit.

"Mr Pomeroy's belief that there was a tolerance which gave him a defence to the charge was mistaken in law, and ignorance of the law is no defence.
This results from a fellow who has challenged a 55kph speeding ticket all the way to the court of appeal.

And you have to love a trier but he has lost.

There is one thing that all of this proves beyond any shadow of a doubt however and that is the zealous enforcement of the speed limit has nothing whatsoever to do with road safety, rather it is as we all have suspected for a long time a revenue generation scheme.

Common sense dictates that a few kph over the limit endangers nobody and in truth the average cars speedometer, if calibrated to read to ±1kph can vary by a lot more than that as measured by speed camera, depending upon tread depth and tire wear.

I do wonder though what is the real tolerance of speed cameras is - it would be interesting to know.

9 comment(s):

KG said...

Spot on! The law is an ass pretending to be an infallible, perfect device.

leftrightout said...

andrei, correct me if I am wrong, by all means, but I doubt that tyres have much to do with a speedo reading - its drawn from the car's transmission, or if electronic, from the crankshaft.

PM of NZ said...

lro, What part of the car does the transmission/crank drive???

KG said...

Yegods! lol....

Psycho Milt said...

LRO - the distance one turn of the diff actually moves the car is dependent on the diameter of the wheels. Lose 5 mmm off the tyre treads and that's 1 cm off the diameter of the wheel. Doesn't sound like much but it does make a difference.

ZenTiger said...

Fascinating. I didn't realise that, although it makes sense on reflection.

malcolm said...

Talk of measuring accuracy etc is irrelevant. Ultimately a number must be set and enforced with the equipment available. If you're saying let's let people off for 55 kph, then 55 would become the new limit. Measuring accuracy and uncertainty has to be built into the limit, otherwise there would be constant debate about what is the 'real' limit.

Redbaiter said...

"Talk of measuring accuracy etc is irrelevant. Ultimately a number must be set and enforced with the equipment available."

Unless the driver has the means of measuring his speed with the accuracy of the equipment being used to enforce that speed it is unfair to expect compliance to the infinite degree this idiot judge demands.

That is why the margin exists. It is not "irrelevant". It is there in recognition of the fact that in-car measuring devices that drivers rely on are not accurate.

malcolm said...

Quite right, Redbaiter.

I didn't make my point well. At some point there is a limit which must be enforced without further allowance for inaccuracy or uncertainty. If that limit is 55 kph then fine, but it could equally well be the original 50 kph and the argument made that 50 was set with an allowance for the speedo inaccuracy.

If the limit is 50 kph but you're allowed up to 55 kph, then I say the speed limit is actually 55 kph. Ultimately the motorist is responsible for determining their own speed, and if they need to err on side of caution due to inaccuracy of their speedo then so be it.

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