Call for better cameras after car-poolers wrongly ticketed

By Mathew Dearnaley

Elizabeth Gailer with her 9-year-old son Callum. Photo / Chris Gorman
Elizabeth Gailer with her 9-year-old son Callum. Photo / Chris Gorman

Motorists wrongly ticketed in multi-occupancy vehicle lanes want Auckland Transport to use better detection tools such as thermal imaging.

Rothesay Bay photographer Elizabeth Gailer says the council body's video cameras are inadequate, having failed to detect her 9-year-old son crouched in the rear of her car on a rainy day in a T2 "transit" lane reserved for vehicles with two or more occupants in Constellation Drive.

"They should have thermal imaging cameras to make it very clear there are two or more bodies in the car," she said, after battling Auckland Transport for several days, and finally being let off with a warning, which will remain on her file.

Former North Shore mayor George Wood, now an Auckland Council member, said it was "totally wrong" that citizens had to prove their innocence instead of the ticket issuer having to establish their guilt.

Graham Hughes, Maryana Hamilton and Stacey Dowler, who car-pool together and use the T3 lane on Onewa Rd. Photo / Dean Purcell
Graham Hughes, Maryana Hamilton and Stacey Dowler, who car-pool together and use the T3 lane on Onewa Rd. Photo / Dean Purcell

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan defended the detection equipment, saying two cameras were used to film passing cars, one pointing forward and the other sideways.

Images were viewed in a professional editing suite where a technician could lighten and expand it, zooming in on frames played at low speeds.

Mr Hannan said Auckland Transport had looked into obtaining thermal imaging cameras, but none that could scan through glass or metal were available to non-military customers.

Another motorist ticketed for using a transit lane, Graham Hughes, said he clearly identified two passengers in his car by using an elderly home PlayStation console to capture still images from a video DVD obtained from Auckland Transport.

He said Auckland Transport did not accept the images, even after he highlighted the face of a rear-seat passenger. Nor would it accept statements from the two passengers, witnessed and stamped by a justice of the peace, that they were in the car when it was filmed in the Onewa Rd T3 lane reserved for vehicles with three or more occupants.

It was only when the Automobile Association interceded that he found out the case had been dropped.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 31 Jul 2014 15:24:28 Processing Time: 697ms