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Speeding Ticket avoidance

Discussion in 'Hong Kong' started by DITB, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

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    #1 DITB, Aug 11, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    OK, so this is now mainly a Autotoll thread. While we are at it, has anyone considered installing more gadgets, while they are at the nosecone anyway?

    Installing a Passport 9500ci radar detector / laser diffuser

    I'm not intending to drag race the Model S at any time, but the stealthy silent shoooosh of an acceleration can quickly bring you up into points territory. Speed limits change constantly, very often not making sense so suddenly it's 70 instead of 110 for no other apparent reason than - because we can.

    I am not sure about this passport unit, what it includes, but I also know of IR LEDs which makes it hard or impossible to see your license plate when viewed by a digital camera (i.e. speed camera).

    Does Hong Kong only use the speeding cameras, or also lasers?

     
  2. Vmax

    Vmax Member

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    We have lasers in HK and it's illegal to use such devices here.
     
  3. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    My understanding is that laser transmitters (blinders/jammers) are illegal (because they transmit), but passive radar/laser detectors are legal.

    To answer DITB's questions, there are four common anti-speeding/red-light techniques used by the force here:

    • Raised orange boxes beside the road. These are generally empty (a lot more boxes than equipment to go in them). Those that are occupied generally use radar. In my experience, about 1 in 4 are occupied, but it depends on the area.
    • Red light cameras. Pretty obviously placed at red-light hotspots. Use radar and sensors in the road.
    • Police speed traps generally have two officers sitting in the bushes with a laser on a tripod. They 'clock' you and then radio it in to a road block a hundred meters or so down the road. The officers at the road block pull you in and ticket you.
    • Unmarked cars. Mostly in the NT.

    In general, the fixed boxes are a hassle for the force. They need to send a letter to the registered owner of the vehicle, demanding identification of the driver. Then, when the driver is identified, they need to send a letter to that driver asking them to confirm that they were the driver. Then, when they receive confirmation, they need to send the actual ticket to the identified driver. You can use something like Waze to show you locations of these boxes, or the radar detectors work well. I highly recommend Waze - a bunch of drivers here (myself included) keep it very up-to-date with the locations of these boxes, and it works well as a navigation system as well.

    Regarding the police speed traps, once the laser hits you they get a speed reading pretty instantly so even if you have a laser detector in your car it won't help much. That said, every time I get tagged by one of these my radar/laser detector starts screaming at me and my (shocked) reaction is to instantly take my foot off the accelerator and regen braking slows my car down. Every time. The officers supposedly take the average of several readings, so this may save you a few Kph and possibly some points.

    A final note on laser transmitters - jammers. These are definitely illegal here. If the officer can't get a laser speed reading, you will get pulled over and your car may get confiscated for inspection. They don't like them. I've heard of people setting up systems that only jam for a second or so (to give you time to slow down, and allow the officer to eventually get a reading) disguised/marketed as laser range finders as parking sensors - but you are still going to get targeted for using such a thing. Don't do it.
     
  4. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

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    Not having had a car in Hong Kong yet, I have watched many a taxi drivers ECM solutions. Some have had the Passport unit it seems, which he was quite content with. I have also seen, or rather heard, some speaking in mandarin Chinese, obviously some products from the mainland. I find it annoying that the speed traps in many cases makes it more dangerous to drive, rather than have more realistic speed limits and better driver education. If they are really concerned about safety, they should teach about stopping distance and how to keep distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of yourself. Turning your head before changing lanes, rather than just looking in the mirrors only.

    Whether you go 70 or 80 or a large, straight road can't really be what causes an accident.

    The bus I often take to and from work is riding the speed cams like I have never seen elsewhere, well, apart from the highway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Coming to a camera, he brakes down so hard you are thrown forward, while speeding up moments after. On the Lantau expressway, you a rocking back and forward, like a swing, for every one of these speed cameras. If the speed cameras were invisible and the speed limit enforced everywhere and at all times, we could all just go the speed limit without these very dangerous waves of start-stop, which ironically are caused by speed cams - the very same cameras which really were meant to make life and safety better, not worse for us.

    I intend to use Waze as well, have used it a lot in taxis to check the traffic (and if I am being taken for a sightseeing), and it warns me not to use it while driving. Click the Passenger option, and all is fine. Plain silly that so much attention and effort have to go into avoiding a faulty system, rather than concentrating on what is going on outside the car, right in front of you and around you.

    So until they come up with a proper solution, I am looking for some kind of automation which will enable me to focus on what is important - road safety.

    What are the rest of you intending to do in this regard? Surely, many of you had cars before, I am interested in hearing what solutions you suggest.
     
  5. Vmax

    Vmax Member

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    My personal take is, make it a habit just not to speed. In HK, driving over the speed limit hardly saves you much time. The very few minutes make no difference.
    To drive so fast, that driving really gets fun (e.g. like in Germany), makes in very dangerous in HK and you are risking your licence for a long time.
     
  6. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

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    of course! Just hope I see the signs in time. I just cannot keep my eyes inside on the speedometer all the time, if rather look at the traffic. No engine revs to let you hear the speed change so I need some kind of device to tell me if I'm speeding.
     
  7. YW-Slayer

    YW-Slayer Member

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    markwj's info is generally correct. For Police speed traps, I would add that sometimes you may encounter 1 officer operating a mobile radar speed camera without a roadblock along the road. They will then send you the requisite Notice in the post shortly after.

    I would add a few more things.

    I use 2 different Valentine One radar/laser DETECTORS in 2 cars. They still works very well, and seem to detect pretty much everything as long as they are set to A mode or U (large U, not small u) mode. Small u mode does NOT detect some of the "boxed" cameras, as I have seen a car get flashed ahead of me while my V1 kept silent. Some shops will try and sell people something based on the fact that the Police have "new" "digital" cameras - but I don't see how storage relates to detection. So far, the V1 has done a good job of alerting me, but it can only do so much depending on the speed you are travelling at, the position and angle of the camera,relative to the road (on which see more below), and whether you think the alarm is a false positive!

    The Beltronic STI Type-R may be even better than the V1, but is even more expensive and usually requires a custom install. In contrast, the V1 can be taken with you on holiday!

    It's difficult for cameras to see how fast you are going around a bend. However, the Police can and often do install cameras to cover the bit of road RIGHT AFTER a bend, in which case your detector may not have enough time to warn you of the radar waves.

    Finally, lots of Nissan Elgrands have laser cruise control, which always sets off a V1 (I don't know about other laser detectors). Having said that, laser guns have, for various reasons, seemingly fallen out of favour and the Police seem to prefer using Radar.

    P.S. I am a big fan of Teslas, hence my having joined this forum after lurking for a long time. I am however looking at buying a Model X, and not an S, eventually, as I need something more estate-like and preferably with 7 seats.
     
  8. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    My personal rules:

    1. I don't speed
    2. If I do speed, less than 15kph above limit (to avoid points)
    3. Enjoy getting to speed, rather than the speed itself

    33 years of driving and zero speeding tickets (touch wood, so far). Probably because I got a shock by being stopped for speeding three hours after I passed my driving test in UK (no joke), and thankfully got off with a warning.
     
  9. Lerxt

    Lerxt Member

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    I have been using a radar detector for about a year and have found that they work mostly, fairly well. The problem is that they go off all the time as other devices seems to set them off. I know for a fact that a mobile speed trap of any sort must register your speed for 2 seconds. This means two things, firstly if you slow down they can only use the lower speed and secondly, if you slam your brakes on to below the limit they cannot send you a ticket. There have been court cases over this, I remember one where a barrister fought and won a case against the police on the 2 second rule.
     
  10. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    Talking about court cases for speeding, my favourite was the one where a solicitor was sent a ticket for going something like 89kph in the 80kph limit on the bridge to the airport. He fought the case with his defence being that the government had never gazetted the change of speed limit on the bridge from 50kph to 80kph so the ticket was incorrect (should have been 89kph in a 50kph limit). The case was dismissed.

    We then had about three months of no speed traps on Clearwater Bay Road in a similar case where the written law said the speed on the road was 50kph, but the government had since gazetted 70kph in some sections. The challenge was that it was unclear whether a change could be made to a written law by a gazetted change. All tickets issued on that stretch of road, going back years, were under challenge. End result was that government decided they would fight for the right to gazette a change and they pushed forward with the tickets.

    End result, as some have commented, is that the speed limits change arbitrarily and are ridiculously low. Where a road in the UK is 50mph, here it is 50kph. Similar for dual carriageways with a central divider - 70mph in the UK, 70kph here. Visibility and road surfaces in the UK are generally much worse than here.

    Driving in HK while continually having to watch for speed limit changes, as well as policemen squatting in the bushes trying to catch you doing 55kph in a 50kph zone, is downright dangerous.
     
  11. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

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    #11 DITB, Aug 12, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
    I got a speeding fine in 1998, where I was driving 56 km/h in a 50 km/h zone in Denmark. I had to fork out 1400 HKD (and this is 1998 money), for going six km/h faster than the limit, on a very wide road with separate bike path and sidewalk, far away from the street itself. Most people at that spot are doing 70 km/h, as it is such a large road, but for that reason alone, a great cash cow for the police as almost everyone is speeding.

    It's great to limit speed, reckless driving, to short distance between cars (2 second rule works great, but is seldom applied in HK). Driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol/medicine, not seeing where you are going, disobeying right-of-way which seem another great sport in Hong Kong.

    All the while, it is so easy to focus on speed alone, so while everyone is busy making sure they are driving within 5 km/h of the speed limit, they often forget to see what's going on around them. Bang!

    I know the world is a highly imperfect place, just trying to make it easier to drive safely - and to be able to forget about the silly stuff, focus on the important stuff instead.
     
  12. YW-Slayer

    YW-Slayer Member

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    Some of the limits here are ridiculously low (70-80 km/h on certain highways - seriously?). Yet some of them are ridiculously high. For example, on Tregunter Path, pedestrians (sometimes bikes) and cars regularly mix on a section of pure road where there is no pavement, but the speed limit remains the default 50km/h (30mph, and contrast the UK 20mph in built-up areas). Of course, there is never any speeding enforcement carried out on that road. It's ridiculous. But I suppose if no-one complains, then the squeaky wheel doesn't get the grease.
     
  13. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

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    If they were really concerned about safety on the roads, then there are a lot of other areas - like some of them I mentioned above - that they could focus on. In some countries you get probationary confiscation of license by driving too close to the one in front, on first offence, and second offence, it will be take away. The same for alcohol/drugs, no tolerance.

    Of course, there are countries far, far worse than Hong Kong. Like so many other things in HK, it's about playing the game, and then just get on with it. Smile and wave!

    giphy.gif

    As long as TD and police can be seen to do something about speed limits, it's considered sufficient. Just like the marine department is targeting a few pointless issues to death, while the essentials go unnoticed.

    Play the game, smile and wave, shut up and carry on.
     
  14. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    Here is the sign on my road: 500m long and one speed limit sign (so it is not even enforceable). It is a dual lane (one each way) country road, but 8kph is ridiculous. Even the police patrols drive 30-40kph down it. I can walk faster than 8kph (5mph).

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1407901152.076387.jpg
     
  15. YW-Slayer

    YW-Slayer Member

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    Yes, there are always things that can be criticised. Having said that, it's not like things are THAT bad here.
     
  16. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

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    #16 DITB, Dec 4, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2014
    In order for a vehicle to have any meaning, it must move - otherwise it's not a vehicle.

    Faster speeds mean more (time) efficiencies, obviously.

    It also means larger stopping distance, higher risk of losing control (like in a turn), less time to react and stop. Also, above around 30-40 km/h, energy efficiency is close to inversely proportional to speed, ie you have half the range at 80 km/h as you have at 40 km/h

    Somewhere in between lies a compromise of efficiency and safety. There is no way you can determine a "safe" or "optimum" speed, it's a political and regulatory "made up" speed.

    Safer roads mean higher speeds can be sufficiently safe, regarding other traffic, intersections, overview and many more factors. Driver skills and morale, as well as vehicle passive and active safety also plays a very important role.

    So now it seems HK TD is upgrading their cams to the UK style where two photos are taken over a known distance, and the time compared for average speed, reading the license plates of all cars passing. It should be a safer system as it prevents the "stop-and-go" by each speed cam, which just makes it even more dangerous (and wastes energy by all that braking and acceleration).

    If Hong Kong were really serious about traffic safety, they should get onto a few tasks:

    1) Improve the road signs, both for clarity and have them early enough
    2) Issue fines to drivers who don't drive left after they are done passing
    3) Issue fines for not using the turn signal. I find that it is only about 5% to 10% of drivers who cares about showing their intended intentions.
    4) Adjust the speed limits to be more realistic. The more realistic speed limits are, the more people are likely to adhere to them
    5) Make it mandatory for trucks and buses to have speed limiters installed, like it exists in most civilised countries now.


    1)

    Having driven only around 3,000 km in HK now, I find it one of the most difficult places to navigate. I have driven in many different countries, both LHD and RHD cars (mainly LHD). Few places have I experience such amateurish signage, on par with developing countries like ... no need to mention any, I will just offend some people, but I am sure you know what I mean. "Follow the road for 10 km" - well, good luck with THAT, some times what looks like an exit turns out to be the main road. Other times, two or three lanes just split up with no notice (or confusing directions to parts of town only well oriented drives all know of). Double white lines then prevent you from getting in the lane you need to. Duh.

    Sign are meant to inform those that don't know already. Those that already know where to go don't need the signs anyway. Two lanes, one become a turning lane only at the latest moment, and you only know it if you have been there before, as the arrows painted on the road are so close to the intersection they are only useful to tell you "you are now in the wrong lane" - when it is too late. The other lane, going straight, is now full of traffic. Good luck to squeeze in, or follow the turn and then navigate back to where you wanted to go. This is such a huge threat to traffic safety, it doesn't matter what speed you are at.

    HK TD: Please improve your traffic signs, to reduce those traffic accidents where people cause accidents out of despair of navigating your complicated and very poorly signed roads.

    2)

    HK taxis might go fast, but their acceleration aren't too good with those lazy LPG engines. Even going uphill, so many of them insist on the right lane on the expressways, even when they are 30 km/h below the limit. For all those lanes, it's a waste of expensive HK land, when they aren't utilised properly. Send a group of officials to Germany and try the highway for a few days (with a local experienced driver to show them how).

    3)

    So many dangerous situations because people just don't give a d... about showing their intentions. Suddenly turning, or maybe you get stuck because the car in front of you stops dead - oh, he has to turn? Well thank you for NOT letting me know.

    4)

    Tuen Mun Castle Peak road - a lot of it is 70 km/h, despite roundabouts, road construction, traffic lights, bikes ... parallel to it is the Tuen Mun expressway - 5 lanes at times, and 70 km/h speed limit as well. Where the h... is the f...... logic to THAT? People so focused on keeping the speed limit within the narrow band they have less time to look out and drive sensibly, use the turn signal, adjust to surroundings.

    5)

    Going the normal speed limit, or as 70% of drivers or so, +10 km/h, you get passed by these huge trucks at 120 km/h. Before I had a car I dared my life on a bike in HK, but eventually gave up. Those trucks and mini buses especially, just drive like there was no tomorrow. Not just about speed, but also lack of looking out where they are going, who else is there. Right of way, turn signals, giving you space for your bike. A former neighbor of mine got hit by a truck and was crippled, lost his job and all. That wasn't about speed itself, but about recklessness, and inability to "drive according to conditions"


    Having at times ridiculously low speed limits and a big brother camera system doesn't make it alone in road safety. OK, then, why not make the speed limit 10 km/h all over Hong Kong, that would suit the argument about "slower is safer". It's all a compromise, but should be an educated one, not as silly as it is now.

    Serious about safety? Open eyes and find there are many more parameters than speed only.
     
  17. pinguhk

    pinguhk Member

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