British Driver Fined Because Traffic Camera Misread Someone Else’s Shirt

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A European traffic camera

Photo: ANDREW STUART / Stringer (Getty Images)

Over the years, we’ve covered quite a few news stories related to traffic cameras. From a town that was forced to pay back millions of dollars in fines to a camera that regularly ticketed a parked car, and even an Oregon man who was fined by the state for suggesting improvements to the camera system, there’s been no shortage of stories about traffic cameras behaving badly. But getting a traffic fine for someone else’s shirt? This is a new one, even for us.

According to the Daily Mail, David Knight recently received a fine in the mail for driving in the bus lane. The only problem was, the citation was for a bus lane in the city of Bath, which the Daily Mail reports is about 120 miles from where Knight lives. That might be shorter than your daily commute here in the U.S., but in the UK, 100 miles is a really, really long distance.

While it’s plausible Knight could have visited Bath in the previous month, the photo included with the fine didn’t even show a car, much less his car. Instead, it showed a woman wearing a shirt that said “KNITTER” on the front. Apparently, that was close enough to Knight’s “KN19TER” plate number to earn a ticket.

The good news is, when Knight’s wife contacted the local government about the mistake, they agreed to drop both the fine and the late fee. And everyone involved sounds like they were able to see the humor in the situation. “We’ve been laughing about it a lot,” Knight told the Daily Mail. “There was no way I was going to pay for a woman walking in a bus lane with a funny T-shirt on!”

So even though it all worked out in the end, drivers now have to worry about potentially being ticketed by a robot if their license plate is too similar to someone else’s shirt. On the other hand, if someone’s really getting on your nerves, you could always try printing up a shirt with their plate number on it. Commit a few traffic crimes on foot, and bam, you got ‘em.

Wait, actually, maybe don’t do that. Especially if you were planning to run a red light. That would be incredibly dangerous, unethical, and (most importantly) way too much effort for too little payoff.

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