The NRMA has urged the ACT government to be transparent, open and accountable about a so-called "systems error" in which potentially hundreds of speeding infringements issued by fixed traffic cameras across the territory earlier this year are in doubt.
The error came to light when a Victorian driver was issued with a speed camera infringement with a date and time inconsistent with the image recorded of when the offence occurred.
With camera-generated speeding infringements, the image taken - with the time and date stamped on it - is determined to be the primary evidence that the infringement occurred.
However, both elements - camera image and infringement notice - must match or the evidence is deemed inconsistent.
The offence was alleged to have occurred as the motorist passed through the fixed speed camera on the Barton Highway southbound near Gold Creek.
Although the offence allegedly occurred in early March, the processing and issuing of the infringement notice was delayed for some three months because the licence-holder was from interstate.
So it was some months before the anomaly first came to the driver's attention and he appealed the matter with Access Canberra.
In a letter to the driver dated July 10, Access Canberra admitted that a "systems error" occurred on the printed infringement document "due to the leap year".
It said that "the primary evidence regarding the offence is the image which has the correct date, the Access Canberra Infringement office will uphold the infringement".
However, the driver has irrefutable evidence which reveals that on the time and date on the accompanying infringement notice, he was nowhere near the Barton Highway but signed into the Queanbeyan Leagues Club.
What now appears to have occurred is that while the camera's inbuilt time and date mechanism had adjusted for the 2020 leap year, Access Canberra's issuing computer mechanism linked to it had not.
The motorist now intends to dispute the matter in court but fears that many people also snapped by the camera would have paid up, unaware that the evidence presented to them was incompatible with the infringement.
Thousands of people are caught speeding each year on the ACT's mobile and fixed traffic camera systems.
Between March 1 and March 7 this year alone, there were 43 offences recorded on the southbound Barton Highway fixed camera between Curran Drive and Gold Creek Road.
There were 36 low range (exceeding the speed limit by less then 15km/h) offences, six in which the excess speed was between 15 and 30km/h, and one in which the driver exceeded the speed limit by 45km/h or more.
The total infringements from the single camera over a seven day period generated $17,057 for the ACT government coffers.
What is unknown however, and to which Access Canberra would not admit, is whether the same "systems error" occurred right across the territory, which has nine mobile speed cameras, 26 fixed and red light cameras and four point-to-point cameras.
Nor would Access Canberra reveal for how long the "system error" occurred before the issue was identified. At a bare minimum, the evidence shows the problem persisted for at least seven days. It says it is seeking legal advice.
When asked about the matter in the ACT Legislative Assembly, the responsible Minister, Gordon Ramsay, admitted he knew nothing of the issue and would take questions on notice.
Should the same "systems error" have occurred across the ACT through the interconnection of the cameras using the same issuing system, the number of potentially invalid or legally contestable infringements would number in the hundreds, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in speeding revenue also brought into question.
Anyone with doubts or questions about their fine are being urged to contact Access Canberra.
From the NRMA's perspective, issues such as this do not build and uphold public confidence in the traffic camera system and the government needs to provide the appropriate public reassurance in an open and transparent way.
"The ACT government needs to be completely transparent about this and provide a full explanation, the sooner the better," NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said.
"The system has to be 100 per cent accurate for people to have confidence in it, or the effectiveness of the system diminishes very quickly.
"If there has been a technical glitch - as this appears - then the cameras should be immediately turned off, the system fully audited, and the results made public.
"If there has been an error, then the public deserves to know, and if people have been unfairly treated then that needs to be properly addressed and rectified."
Mr Khoury said confidence in the speed camera system depends on community support. If people have been fined or lost demerits points on their licence, or even lost their licence, as a result of a "systems error", then that needs to be addressed promptly and openly.
"It might be seen as a technicality, but an error is still an error," he said.