We’ve all been there, driving along, not really focusing on our speed then suddenly we see a camera whether it be a stationary speed camera or a mobile van or one of the many different cameras hanging off lampposts and traffic lights. We brake, even though most of the time we are driving the correct speed limit, we panic to just make sure we are under the speed limit. But which road cameras can actually fine you?
There are six types of cameras on British roads and only half of them have the power the fine you.
The Gatso speed camera
Mobile speed van
Highway Agency CCTV
SPECS (motorway) camera
Police Auto Number Plate Recognition
Gatso Speed Camera – Fine
In 1992, the Gatsometer BV speed camera was introduced onto British roads. The government installs them frequently on roads that are deemed accident black-spots, where a certain number of serious accidents have already occurred.
They have been converted to digital format, which means they can catch more people speeding than they could previously. There is always plenty of warning ahead with these cameras, with signs placed at intervals before the camera even comes into sight. If you are getting a speeding ticket off these cameras then you only have yourself to blame.
Mobile speed camera - Fine
The mobile speed camera is the surprise one for many motorists. They are housed into police vans and operated by police officers. These are parked on roads where there is a speed camera facing one way but not the other or on roads where it is known drivers speed but accidents rarely occur, usually coming off a motorway onto carriageways or urban streets.
The cameras can either be hand-held or mounted in the vans and use either laser or radar technology. Sometimes, you will only spot these mobile camera vans when it is already too late and a fine is on its way to you in the post. They can appear at any time in any location.
SPECS – Fine
These cameras are for the motorway. They cover all four lanes simultaneously meaning no one can escape them. They are however easy to spot thanks to them being bright yellow mounted on gantries over the motorways.
They are equipped with Automatic Plact Recognition (ANPR) and they photograph every camera that passes beneath them. These are used for the average speed cameras zones, but also for general speed. The data collected by the first camera is sent along to another further up the motorway (minimum of 200m away) and the time it takes to pass between those two cameras will calculate how fast the car is going. They are fitted with infrared illuminators to ensure they work day or night and in all weathers.
Highway Agency CCTV Cameras – No Fine
These cameras do not fine you. They are primarily used for traffic management. When an accident occurs or animal runs onto the motorway, these cameras allow the operator to act accordingly, altering the speed limit through the screens mounted on the gantries above the motorway.
Police Automatic Number Plate Recognition – No Fine
These cameras are set up by the police on bridges above the motorway. They are set up on stands and tripods to help them catch criminals. They record the number plates of every passing car and keep that data for up to two years. The aim of these cameras is to ‘help detect, deter and disrupt criminality at a local, force, regional and national level’.
Highways Agency ANPR Cameras – No Fine
These cameras do not fine you. They are used by the Highway Agency to determine traffic levels, but no not record individual number plates. They are easy to spot thanks to the bright green housing around it.