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Speed Cameras: Fact vs Fiction
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MaFt
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:58 pm    Post subject: Speed Cameras: Fact vs Fiction Reply with quote

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We see a lot of discussion about speed cameras in our forums and I also, personally, see various snippets and comments across social media about them too. However, there seems to be quite a bit of misinformation so I thought it would be interesting to do a little fact check to see how well you know speed cameras and how the law applies to you and them.

What follows are a handful of quotes I've seen online about speed cameras, speeding fines NIPs etc along with some information as to their accuracy. Have a read and let us know if you've learnt anything new or have heard any other so-called 'facts' about speed cameras.

"You must be going 10% plus 2mph over the limit to get caught"

This is actually false and comes from a misunderstanding between guidelines and law. By law, technically, you can be prosecuted for doing just 1mph over the limit. In reality, however, with differences in car speedos, in recording equipment thresholds etc this could end up very hard to prove in order to prosecute so the guidelines from the NPCC (National Police Chiefs Council) actually suggest not prosecuting unless the speed is 10% plus 2 mph over the limit. This is a guideline though, if they really wanted to then you could be prosecuted for doing 31mph in a 30mph zone. Speeding is still speeding - the guideline is not a way to 'legally speed'.

From Leicestershire Police: "Guidance issued by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) suggests when enforcement action will be taken against speeding motorists - this is usually when the relevant speed limit is exceeded by 10% plus 2 mph. However, this is for guidance purposes only, a police officer has the discretion to act outside it. Some drivers wrongly interpret it to mean that they can legally exceed the speed limit - this is most definitely not the case."

"You can be too fast for a speed camera"

Technically, with the older Gatsos, then yes - you can but, and it is a VERY big but... You need to be going over 170mph. They tested it on Top Gear back in 2007 (see YouTube). A car at 140mph triggered the camera and also successfully took two photos but at 170+mph the Gatso wasn't even triggered - they also had 2 miles of test track. As for how newer speed cameras would handle this is anyone's guess but, bearing in mind that the absolute maximum speed limit in the UK is 70mph, traveling over 100mph over the limit would not only be stupidly dangerous it would also be dangerously stupid! That, and the fact that most cars can't reach that speed anyway. The fastest known speed on a UK road was PC Mark Milton who hit 159mph testing his squad car on the M54 (and was subsequently cleared of dangerous driving). So for all intents and purposes it is highly likely that YOU can't be too fast for a speed camera.

"Speed cameras must be yellow otherwise they are illegal" & "If there's no warning sign then the speed camera is illegal"

These are only partly true. In 2015 it was announced that all speed cameras on the strategic road network must be yellow and have warning signs. The emphasis here is on the 'strategic road network' - i.e. motorways and trunk roads; an offence is still valid though regardless of the colour of the camera. This does not apply to other roads where grey cameras without warning signs can be used. The majority of cameras are, however, painted/coloured yellow as most councils have always stated they are for safety so alerting drives to their location with a bright yellow camera is their way of saying "hey, this is a dangerous bit of road, drive safely!"

For normal roads, the law was changed in 2001 to state that the speed camera housing must be yellow, the camera must be visible from 60m (at 40mph or less) or 100m (for over 40mph) and that warning signs must be in place to alert drivers. This was at a time where councils were being accused of 'cashing in' on speeding drivers by hiding cameras. In 2007 this law was changed again when councils stopped receiving the money directly from speed camera fines and, instead, got a budget from central government - housings no longer need to be yellow and the 60m/100m visibility rule no longer applies - they are now just guidelines.

"Average speed cameras don't work"

With the number of people either blatantly ignoring them through roadworks you would think this would be true. However, they do work and people do get prosecuted for speeding through average speed zones. How do we know this? Well, we have asked a few times via our newsletter and had plenty of responses from our readers (along with some scanned copies of NIPs) to validate this fact.

"There is a cut-off date for when you can be prosecuted"

Finally, one that's true! The law states that an NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) must be issued within 14 days of on offence being caught on a speed camera - note, however, it only needs to be issued in 14 days, it will still take time to get to you.

"Don't worry about points, you can just request a Speed Awareness Course instead"

This is false. You cannot request a speed awareness course; however, given the circumstances of your offence the police may offer you a speed awareness course but they don't have to. They may also refuse to offer you more than one speed awareness course should you offend again with the guidelines stating that drivers should not be offered the course if they are caught speeding within 3 years of attending a course (see this document, section 2.6.1)

"Some speed cameras are switched off"

This is true but also a fairly pointless piece of knowledge without knowing exactly which ones. Is it worth the risk? Probably not and I'm certain that if your line of defence against a speeding ticket was "I thought it was turned off" then you won't be succesful.
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Kremmen
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good useful info Cheers!
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alan_sh
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:50 am    Post subject: Thanks - and a question Reply with quote

A question - which cameras work at night and how do they do that?
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sparkzilla
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are cameras on variable speed smart motorways still active when the speed is not being reduced. ie can i be flashed for driving through a variable speed camera if the speed is not being reduced at the time, lets say im driving at 85 mph on a 70 motorway
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CaptainBlue
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Note that the document you've linked to gives advice about the speed awareness threshold that seems to be contradicted by every other source - various police and insurance sites - in relation to the upper limit, which appears to be +10% + 9mph, so 86mph in a 70mph limit, for instance.
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CaptainBlue
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sparkzilla wrote:
Are cameras on variable speed smart motorways still active when the speed is not being reduced. ie can i be flashed for driving through a variable speed camera if the speed is not being reduced at the time, lets say im driving at 85 mph on a 70 motorway


I believe you can: that was certainly the cause of my getting an SP50 in October 2014 on the section of the M5 just South of the M4 near Bristol.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:33 am    Post subject: Re: Thanks - and a question Reply with quote

alan_sh wrote:
A question - which cameras work at night and how do they do that?


Pretty much every one ... using an IR flash so as not to cause dazzle.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sparkzilla wrote:
Are cameras on variable speed smart motorways still active when the speed is not being reduced. ie can i be flashed for driving through a variable speed camera if the speed is not being reduced at the time, lets say im driving at 85 mph on a 70 motorway


If you were it's probably best they are working ... and yes they are still active.
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SteveUK
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote: ". . . The law states that an [sic] NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) must be issued within 14 days of on offence being caught on a speed camera - note, however, it only needs to be issued in 14 days, it will still take time to get to you."

There would seem to be a bit of confusion here! The NIP has to be *served* (assumed to be two business days after posting) within 14 days, not issued.

Be aware, though, that this is only for the first NIP, which will be to the registered keeper - and that could be a leasing company or your employer for example.

Unless you are the registered keeper, don't think you have got away with a speeding ticket just because you haven't received a NIP within the 14 days!
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digital
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sparkzilla wrote:
Are cameras on variable speed smart motorways still active when the speed is not being reduced. ie can i be flashed for driving through a variable speed camera if the speed is not being reduced at the time, lets say im driving at 85 mph on a 70 motorway


Yes. I saw someone flashed on the 'other' carriageway on the M62.
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sussamb
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No confusion:

The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (c.53) Section 1 (2) clearly states that within fourteen days of the commission of the offence the NIP must be served on either the driver or the registered keeper of the vehicle. Subsection 2 in full reads:

"A notice shall be deemed for the purposes of subsection (1)(c) above to have been served on a person if it was sent by registered post or recorded delivery service addressed to him at his last known address, notwithstanding that the notice was returned as undelivered or was for any other reason not received by him."
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sussamb wrote:
No confusion:

The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (c.53) Section 1 (2) clearly states that within fourteen days of the commission of the offence the NIP must be served on either the driver or the registered keeper of the vehicle. Subsection 2 in full reads:

"A notice shall be deemed for the purposes of subsection (1)(c) above to have been served on a person if it was sent by registered post or recorded delivery service addressed to him at his last known address, notwithstanding that the notice was returned as undelivered or was for any other reason not received by him."


You clearly haven't read the original article or my response. Unless you mean that "there is no confusion apart from that suffered by the writer of the article" as they stated that the NIP had to be issued (not served) within 14 days. Your quote of the legislation supports that point that I made.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:59 pm    Post subject: Average speed cameras - are they worth it on suburban roads Reply with quote

The A217 near us has the 40 mph speed limit changed to and average speed 40 mph zone. Whilst I can see the sense of av sped check on motorways I really can't see the point on this suburban road with many roundabouts. Even with no traffic you'd be pushed to break the 40 mph limit even if you travelled most of the road at 50 because you need to slow down to quite a low speed to negotiate each roundabout.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

regarding the 10% + 2 guidelines he French and other countries do have an official table for calculating the speed used to prosecute. Pity the UK can't follow suit.

https://tinyurl.com/y9zsv355
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SteveUK
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

b33jay wrote:
regarding the 10% + 2 guidelines he French and other countries do have an official table for calculating the speed used to prosecute. Pity the UK can't follow suit.

https://tinyurl.com/y9zsv355


Although a "guideline", if you look at motorists' websites such as "pepipoo.com" you will see that, despite anecdotal evidence of "my mate being done for [e.g.] 32 in a 30" there is never any hard evidence of such a prosecution. True, it would be no defence, but it would seem very unlikely that the 10% +2 is not followed.
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