The speeding fine system being used in South Africa is pretty impressive, very advanced and certainly puts the UK to shame. Whilst they're not as kind about making the cameras highly visible, like they are in the UK, they certainly do make it easy for you to confirm it definitely was your car and cough up your cash.

Mum's FineMum was lucky enough to get, as she put it, "a love letter" in the post today. The Jo'burg Metro police were kind enough to send her a lovely picture - in full colour - of her little car and a request to pay a R200 (£15.11/€20.04/$29.60 - what a pleasure) fine (See right).

Pretty impressive. But it's gets better. You can pay it online at http://www.payfine.co.za . So you go along, enter your reference number, and lo and behold, you discover you've got other outstanding fines, each with full details of when, where you were, how fast you were going, how much the fine is and even a picture, which you can click and view a high res version of. A login isn't required to view the fines either. All you need is a reference number.

Having the inquisitive mind I have, I thought I'd see if I could find other drivers who were nabbed around the same time. Well, it didn't take me long to "decipher" the reference number system. At a guess, it appears to be:

2 characters / case # / department # / photo #

I'm not too sure what the first two characters are, but it's probably something like the camera number or just a sequential reference.

Now if we take into account the fact that speed cameras generally take 2 photos at a time, we can workout who got nabbed before and after mum, but incrementing/decrementing the case # by 1 and incrementing/decrementing the photo # by 2.

Mum's reference number was E7/48710/172/097739. I soon worked out that the person before has ref E7/48709/172/097737 and the person after has ref E7/48711/172/097741.

Impressive, however I suspect it could be used to quash fines. The chap who got caught before mum has exactly the same time stamp for the offense as seconds are not taken into account (or they're just set to 00 for ease).

The best thing about this system is that you can add pics to your family albums. If the speed camera had a polarising filter on the lens, then I could have added this one to the family album:

Mum & Sami Speeding

All in all, I'm pretty impressed with this and am very surprised we don't have something like this in the UK. After all, the UK is the camera capital of the world. One thing is for sure: if mum had been in the UK, she'd have lost her license within a single week as each offense carries 3 penalty points and a fine. You lose your license on the 12th point.

Now let this be a lesson mum; the pedal on the right is indeed the "go faster" pedal, but Mr Plod isn't too happy with you using it willy and indeed nilly. Maybe you should get one of those new Tata Nanos. You'll never see the other side of 70km/h again :-D