UK speed gun problems still unresolved?

US motorist discovers new software issue for LTI 20/20

A QUICK-THINKING American, with a rather unfortunate surname, is challenging a speeding fine by disputing the accuracy of the computerised radar gun used by US Police - the same model gun controversially used by UK traffic cops.

Michael Felch has been granted a request by a Florida court for the state's Police to hand over the LTI 20/20 speed gun used for examination.

Felch believes there is a computer software issue with the hand-held device, which means the gun can give false readings.

The device, made by US-based Laser Technology Inc., has been the source of much controversy in the UK since its introduction for its unreliable speed readings. However, UK importers Tele-Traffic (UK) Ltd claimed in an interview with the BBC in 2005 that their guns are fitted with a technology which give reliable readings.

Tele-Traffic MD Frank Garratt told the BBC the device "traps out any panning error." Mr Garratt insisted errors of more than 2mph are highly unlikely: "no more than 1mph, if at all, but in any event 2mph is well within the target parameters". However, Mr Garratt made a U-turn in January 2007, when he revealed in court there could be chance the devices were prone to giving false readings.

Since faults in the device's accuracy has been uncovered numerous speeding cases have been thrown out of UK courts.

In 2007 The Daily Mail conducted tests on the gun and discovered that the LTI 20/20 was seriously flawed.

In the tests, it wrongly recorded a wall as travelling at 44mph, an empty road scored 33mph, a parked car was clocked as doing 22mph and a bicycle (in reality being ridden at 5mph) rocketed along at an impossible 66mph.

Mr Felch's case in the US has now sparked concerns in the UK that the gun is far from reliable.

"I don't believe they handled the slip effect correctly," Felch said of the fault with the device, which shows when a car is being clocked. "I believe there can be a miscalculation that can lead to plus or minus 30 miles per hour."