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The different types of speed cameras

Whatever your feelings may be regarding speed cameras – and for a great many drivers, they are one of the most contentious issues when it comes to driving- you have to abide by them regardless, as getting caught speeding by a camera could end up affecting your car insurance, including if you are insuring for a fleet of vehicles. Therefore, it is in your best interest to make sure you are all clued up with everything there is to know about speed cameras, to make sure that you are driving safely but also legally.

Speed cameras – history

The very first speed camera installed in the UK (and also known as a safety camera) was back in 1992, on the A316 over Twickenham bridge. The speed at which the trigger was set was at 60mph and after less than a month after being set up, it had caught a staggering 23,000 drivers speeding at over 65mph.

Why are speed cameras important?

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has stated that approximately 26% of deaths on the road, and 15% of serious injuries are caused by drivers and riders who are travelling too fast. Speed cameras have bee shown to reduce speed in accident-prone areas in the UK, helping to significantly reduce the number of road injuries and deaths.


Types of speed cameras

There isn’t just one type of speed camera, the following listed are some of the most commonly used across the country:

Average speed cameras

Introduced in 1999 and also known as SPECS cameras, they use Automatic Number Plate Reading (ANPR) digital technology in order to record a timestamp and a data when you drive through two cameras, which enables the computer to calculate the average speed you are driving at. They are a very common sight on UK¬†motorways. In fact, it is estimated that 263 miles of the UK’s road are¬†covered by permanent average speed cameras. This even includes the 99-mile stretch in Scotland on the A9!

Thought there was only one type of speed camera that was on the UK roads? There are in fact many different varieties available on the market.

Variables speed cameras

Working in a similar way to average speed cameras, they are usually used on smart motorways where the speed limit is typically lowered to help ease congestion on the roads, or if there is particularly bad weather. Generally speaking, they are not in operation 24 hours a day. You will find that this type of camera is situated on the overhead gantries. The speed limit will also be designated on a series of signs in the area.

Fixed speed cameras

First implemented in 1992, and also known as the ‘Gatso’, it was the very first speed camera installed in the UK. It is also the most commonly used speed camera on the roads in the country. The rear-facing Gatso is considered the most popular kind on the road.

However, there also exists the ‘Truvelo’ which uses a forward-facing camera in order to catch motorists who are driving over the speeding limit.

Mobile speed cameras

With these types of cameras, they are usually run by local police forces and are located on accident blackspots where there has been a prolonged history of road traffic accidents. Typically, this will be for a period of at least three years where this has occurred. These kinds of speed cameras can take a number of different forms, sometimes working from unmarked cars, as well as marked or even by police officers using laser or radar guns.

You will also find that there are mobile speed cameras that are in operation as part of speed safety campaigns and used by safety camera partnership teams.


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