[Author Prev][Author Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Author Index][Thread Index]


In message <961019081956_75363.2524_EHI33-3@CompuServe.COM> Joe Yakubik writes:

> One of the problems of traffic enforcement in Germany is it is not your CAR that
> gets the ticket, it's YOU.

I have a few letters somewhere that start: "Ihnen wird zu Last gelegt ...".  
The letter goes to the registered owner of the car.  If someone else was 
driving, the owner has a legal responsibility to identify that person properly 
to the authorities and the ticket gets reissued.  The police are very 
intolerant of being mucked about with.  I know someone who tried it (not speed, 
Abstand) and received a 05:30 visit at home on a Sunday.  They charged him the 
fine, DM24 for the visit and DM6 for making them actually _print_ the photo - 
usually, they just processed from the negatives.  I think the latest systems 
are fully digital, so enhancement is no problem at all.

> They do not need the flash to see your license plate
> (except at night or in really bad weather.  They use the flash to effectively
> remove the reflective properties of the windshield so they can get a photo of
> the person driving the car.  "This is your car on this date going this speed.
> This person driving your car looks an awful lot like you..."

Except they usually photograph speeding offenders from behind.  They also use 
infrared flash sometimes, and I suspect also polarised light to cut down 
reflections.  It's hard to see how even an incredibly bright object can flood 
out something several feet away with modern lenses.  The only effect I _might_ 
expect to see is spoofing a computer flash - but I suspect the flash used by 
radar traps has fixed output.  In the UK, two pictures are taken about 1/4 
second apart.  Not a thing most computer flashes would be up to.

When I worked in a Frankfurt/Niederrad office block, I had a good view of the 
northern part of the Frankfurter Kreuz.  There often used to be a figure 
sitting in a folding chair, wrapped up like a 1900s motorist, with a camera and 
a _very_ long telephoto lens.  He/she watched the entry slip roads on the 
northbound (Kassel/Hannover) Autobahn for people crossing the solid white line 
about 1/2 kilometre north of the bridge.  But again, a photo from behind.

> There are also products available that will enable you to (theoretically)
> "white-out" letters or parts of letters on your license plate to the flash bulb.
> It looks black, but reflects photoflash radar as mostly white.  The cops see
> this as a challenge, so they run the film through the developer a few times,
> altering the processing and they still get your number.  Plus you get a nice fat
> fine for doctoring your plate.

And points, and perhaps "Fahrtenbuchpflicht".  That's a real bind, having to 
write down _every_ journey you make in a book in the car.  Still got mine, 
somewhere ...

> BTW:  It's also illegal to drive around with your plates obscured by mud/dirt.
> You see cars absolutely filthy except for the plates.  Wierd.

Yup.  And if you have a company car registered at the company's head office but 
you live in a different town, you will have a friendly policeman stop for a 
chat the first time they pass your house and see you with the car.  "We've seen 
an out-of-town registration parked here for a few days - is it a company car or 
is it yours?"  

Ordnung muss sein.

 Phil Payne
 Committee Member, UK Audi [ur-]quattro Owners Club