Tailgating: VKS video measuring equipment

How VKS video measuring equipment works

The VKS video measuring equipment works by capturing video images of travelling vehicles. Special software is used to convert the two dimensional image into the three dimensional traffic situation. This is called perspective transformation. The traffic is recorded from a point around three metres above the carriageway; usually from a bridge.

Tailgating

Picture: © Steffen Niclas - Fotolia.com

Square markings, which enable measurements to be taken, are placed on the carriageway at four different points. The measuring points are combined with two other reference points in order to calculate the distance between vehicles.

As this measuring procedure involves the constant recording of traffic, as opposed to being engaged when suspicions arise, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court ruled in 2009 that the procedure breached individuals’ right to privacy.

Following this judgment the exercise of authoritative power when measuring vehicle distance must be underpinned by a reasonable suspicion, a sufficient purpose and be subject to proper restraint. The measuring procedure must be specific to a particular area, precise and regulated in clear provisions.

Newer versions of the VKS 1.0 are equipped with relevant software which operates on a particular pre-set distance and only captures frontal images of those vehicles which are suspected of tailgating.

Operating conditions

The VKS 1.0 can only be operated on flat carriageways. Hills and dips cause mistakes in the analysis of the perspective transformation. Measurements are taken at a vehicle speed of above 80 km/h, which is why the VKS system is normally only used on motorways and other high-speed roads.

Technical errors

A number of errors can occur when using the VKS video distance measuring technology. These errors fall in favour of the accused and can serve as points to dispute.

If the measurement markings are incorrectly set up, any analysis of the captured material would be inaccurate. In addition, all markings and reference points must be clearly visible.

Before traffic is filmed, a reference video must be recorded from the camera which is to be used and the height of the camera must be noted and must not be changed during the filming process.

If these elements are not adhered to, any recordings taken may be impermissible in court.

If you have been accused of tailgating and VKS 1.0 video measuring equipment was used by the authorities, we can defend you! Call our team of expert German lawyers on +49 (0) 221 / 951 563 0, preferably before you fill out the pre-trial questionnaire.


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Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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