Monkey Mask Fails to Defeat Traffic Camera

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This may seem at first like a great idea for beating those automatic photo-enforcement cameras they set up to catch speeders:

That Could Be Any Chimp In the Phoenix Area

I would honestly like to be able to say this idea worked and that there was still a mystery driver, possibly Cornelius from "Planet of the Apes," on the loose in Arizona.  Sadly, it isn't so.

A Mr. Dave Vontesmar was recently served by the Arizona Department of Public Safety with no fewer than 37 unpaid photo-enforcement tickets, each of which was accompanied by a picture similar to the one above.  He refused to pay.  Defense?  Mistaken identity.  "Not one of them . . . is a picture where you can identify the driver," he told the Arizona Republic this week.  "I sent back all these ones [sic] I got with a copy of my driver's license and said 'It's not me.  I'm not paying them."

Now, this would be fantastic as a one-time comedic protest against speed cameras.  I may even try this myself just so I can frame a picture of my car with a chimpanzee behind the wheel.  It seems easier than getting a chimpanzee and teaching him to drive.  But 37 violations would result in total fines of more than $6,500, and that seems like a lot to risk in order to make a point about speed cameras.  But Dave Vontesmar hates speed cameras, and thinks the program is illegal, at least as applied.  "They're required by law to ID the driver of the vehicle," he was quoted as saying.  "If they can't identify the driver or the vehicle by the picture, what are they doing to identify the driver?"

Well, they might be able to identify the vehicle.  For example, they might set up the cameras to get a shot of the license plate.  Turns out they do that.  Or maybe, in this case, they put out an APB for a car with BUCKTOOTH RACIN' on the windshield.  Seems unlikely there would be more than one primate in the Phoenix area driving a car of this type marked that way.  And if they do identify the vehicle, and you are the owner of that vehicle, and the picture shows someone behind the wheel of that vehicle, then we call that "circumstantial evidence" that you are the driver.  Conclusive?  No.  Conclusive enough?  Probably.  Dave, of course, would disagree.  Which is probably why they set up a stake-out.

"We watched him four different times put the monkey mask on," said one of the officers who had been stationed outside Vontesmar's home to observe his modus operandi when leaving for work.  "Based on surveillance, we were positive that Vontesmar was the driver."  These officers also noted that on some occasions, Vontesmar donned a "giraffe-style" mask rather than the monkey mask.  So there may be yet another set of amusing pictures, and expensive tickets, on their way to him now.

Link: Arizona Republic