How Google's Street View saved this man from an unfair $230 speeding ticket

Danial Mercer ticket photo
CBC News
A man from Winnipeg, Canada, successfully fought a speeding ticket in court using images from Google Maps’ Street View.

Danial Mercer was cited for driving 49 kilometers an hour in a school zone limited to 30 kilometers an hour on April 6 of last year. The local police department sent him a photo of his Lincoln LS allegedly breaking the law, and attached a CND$299 ticket, a sum that converts to approximately $230. Mercer takes that stretch of road on a regular basis, and he claims that he’s well aware of where the school zone starts and where it ends. Confident that he was out of the 30 km/h zone when the picture was taken, he decided to fight the ticket in court.

Instead of getting a lawyer, he turned to Google Maps. He gathered Street View images of where the school zone started, where it ended, and where the photo of his car allegedly speeding was taken. It might sound like a long shot, but he managed to prove that he was no longer in the school zone when he drove past the officer’s speed camera and therefore was not speeding. The judge agreed, and quickly dropped the ticket.

Mercer now questions how police officers issue tickets in his area.

“I don’t even know what to say, there are so many tickets that are being handed out every day. I mean there were 150 people [in traffic court] that day,” he told Canadian television station CBC News.

The police department doesn’t agree with the court’s decision. An officer explained that the lens of the camera used to enforce speed limits sometimes distorts photos and makes cars seem farther away than they actually are. He added that measuring the distance from a manhole cover to Mercer’s tires proves he was about two yards away from the end of the school zone when the picture was taken, so the ticket was completely justified.

Read more: Google unveils a series of new updates to improve Street View

It’s not too late for the decision to be overturned, so Mercer might not be off the hook quite yet. And while he saved himself a good deal of money, he regrets that the incident cost him two vacation days. He took a day off to inform the judge of his intention to fight the ticket, and a second day to appear in court and defend his case.

Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Killing Eve'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

Phiaton’s active lifestyle headphones do noise canceling on a budget

Looking for a set of active noise-canceling earbuds that can keep up with your active lifestyle, without breaking the bank? Phiaton's new Curve BT 120 NC could be just the ticket.

Heal your wrist aches and pains with one of these top ergonomic mice

If you have a growing ache in your wrist, it might be worth considering changing up your mouse for something ergonomic. But which is the best ergonomic mouse for you? One of these could be the ticket to the right purchase for you.

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California approved a regulation that targets an all-electric public bus fleet for the whole state by 2040. The effect of the full implementation of the regulation is equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.

1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has found a buyer. The project was going to be disbanded after running out of funds, but its assets were purchased by British businessman Ian Warhurst.

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.

The best compact cars pack full-size features in fun-size packages

The best compact cars on the market rival their counterparts in many ways, proving that bigger isn’t always better. Here, we've rounded up some of the better options available, including an SUV and an electric alternative.

Lincoln revives its coolest-ever design feature for limited-edition Continental

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.