Speed Cameras - Myths and Facts
The last thing you want is an unwelcome surprise in the post by way of a speeding penalty and potentially at least three points on your license. It can affect your insurance premium and for those whose livelihood depends on driving it can even affect job opportunities. Here are some tips and myths busted that may help you avoid being caught out by a speed camera...
MYTH: Speed Cameras and Police Speed Traps Have To Be Easily Visible
While many speed cameras and police speed traps are highly visible and easily spotted, there is no obligation or law stating they must be.
So, if you are zapped by the police with a speed radar device as you come over the top of a hill or a camera that you have not seen catches you speeding, there is no recourse or legal loophole, you are bang to rights I’m afraid!
MYTH: Speed Cameras Have To Be Painted Yellow
Again, this a myth, there is no legal requirement for a speed camera to be painted, yellow. The government is committed to and work is ongoing to make all cameras yellow but there is no recourse or legal caveat if you are snapped by a speed camera and it is not yellow.
FACT: Speeding Tickets Must Be Issued Within 14 Days
An NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) must be posted to the vehicle’s registered keeper within 14 days of the offence otherwise the ticket is invalidated. The issuer will typically have to obtain proof of sending;/postage. The NIP will be accompanied by a section 172 notice, the section 172 must be returned to the police within 28 days notifying them of who was driving the vehicle when the offence was committed, more info is available on the government website here.
MYTH: There Is A Legal 10% Over Speed Limit Tolerance Level
The NPCC (National Police Chiefs Council) says police should allow for a 10% tolerance level as the Road Traffic Act permits a speedometer to be inaccurate by 10% before it is considered defective, thus a motorist could be inadvertently speeding without knowing it. However, this is only guidance and you should never assume you will be OK doing 10% over the limit or 10% + 2mph which is commonly quoted.
MYTH: Areas Where Speed Camera Are Present Must Be Accompanied By Speed Camera Warning Signs
This is a complete myth and there is no law in the UK to say speed
camera zones must be accompanied by warning signs. Yes, we would all
like a heads-up but unfortunately it just isn’t always the case. Never
assume no speed camera warning signs means no speed cameras!
MYTH: Speed Cameras Only Work For Traffic Travelling in One Direction
For single carriageways this is a complete myth, the camera can catch speeding vehicles travelling in both directions. However, on dual carriageways the camera is only monitoring traffic from a single direction. Often you will see cameras in close proximity on opposite sides of a dual carriageway for this very reason.
TRUE: Not All Speed Cameras Are Operational
It is true that not all speed cameras are operational or operational 100% of the time. However, even when switched off, a prominent/visible speed camera provides a useful speeding deterrent. Do not let complacency set in or assume that because a camera was not working yesterday it is OK to speed past it the next.
MYTH: You Can Request A Speed Awareness Course Instead Of Points On Your License
If you are caught speeding and eligible for a Speed Awareness Course you will be notified, if you are not offered one, you are out of luck.
Those who have previously been on a Speed Awareness Course may be eligible for a second one but there are a few caveats. Firstly, the speeding offence must not be within three years of your previous one, and secondly it will depend on the severity of your offence (how much over the speed limit you were clocked at for example).
MYTH: If The Speed Camera Does Not Flash You Are OK
If you are speeding and spot a camera at the last second, don’t be fooled into thinking you’ve got away with it if it doesn’t flash. There is a wide variety of cameras on UK roads from the traditional Gatso cameras to some very high-tech multi-tasking cameras. Some cameras are equipped with hi-tech night vision, some flash, some do not.
TRUE: Some Cameras Can Catch You On Your Phone While Driving
Some of the state-of-the-art cameras in use now can perform a multitude of tasks and they are not just limited to performing one single task either. Councils have invested heavily over the last few years in such cameras like those nicknamed ‘yellow vultures’ that can catch you on your phone whilst driving. In all honesty there is no excuse for operating a phone while driving these days.
MYTH: A Camera Can Only Perform A Single Task
There are many hi-tech cameras in the UK, and they are not limited to motorways and major roads either. Many councils have deployed the latest in camera technology in busy city centres and traffic hot spots.
The Zengrab Lanewatch camera is an example of the high-tech, multi-tasking camera’s councils are using. It can catch motorists who illegally enter a bus lane or a no stopping zone, it can also identify motorists making an illegal U-turn or entering a one way street the wrong way.
MYTH: Average Speed Zones/Cameras Do Not Work
It’s a complete myth that average speed zones do not work, just because you see someone speeding down the outside lane in an average speed zone don’t be fooled into thinking it’s OK to do the same. They are in fact a very effective way of controlling motorists’ speeds over a prolonged period.
Yes, average speed zones can be frustrated, especially ones that stretch for miles, but don’t let your frustration get the better of you or you could be getting an unwelcome surprise in the post.
*The above points are for guidance only, you should always take legal advice if you are unsure or wish to appeal a penalty/fine.