Speed Cameras – Separating the Facts From The Myths

Speed cameras are the centrepiece of one of the greatest controversies in British motoring. Whilst local authorities insist that they serve as an effective speeding deterrent, critics claim that they have no impact on speeding and simply serve to raise revenue via fines. The first speed camera in the UK was introduced in 1992 on the A316. Less than a month after it was turned on, it caught over 22,000 drivers exceeding 65 mph on a road that has a restriction of 40 mph.

Regardless of where you sit on the debate, there are a number of myths and fallacies surrounding Britain’s speed cameras. It’s time to break them down and state the facts… 

Not All Speed Cameras Are Operational – This is correct, not all of the nation’s speed cameras are indefinitely operational. In fact, in 2017 the Police released information stating that out of 2,838 cameras across the country only 1,486 (52%) were switched on. The Press Association also discovered that some police forces had all of their cameras switched off, simply leaving up the physical structures to deter crime. Police in Derbyshire said that only 10 of its 112 cameras were active at the time, whilst in Staffordshire a paltry 14 out of 272 cameras were switched on.

Police Use A 10% + 2mph Rule: This is partially correct. The NPCC (National Police Chiefs Council) recommends giving offending drivers this amount of leverage, but it’s entirely discretionary; the police officer who records the offence has the ultimate decision on whether to issue a fine and Penalty Points. As a result of this, you should never assume that you’ll receive this level of flexibility; it’s always best to stick to the stated speed limit.

Speed Cameras Need To Be Painted Yellow To Be Valid: False. When the first speed cameras were rolled out across the UK most were simply grey. New legislation has called for them all to be upgraded to a highly visible yellow and most have already undergone the change. However, should you be caught by a camera that has yet to be updated the fine will absolutely still stand and will come with all of the same conditions were it to have come from a yellow-marked camera.

You Must Be Notified Within A Certain Amount Of Time If Caught: This is correct. If you’re caught speeding by a speed camera, you must receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) within 14 days of the violation. This will always be sent to the person the car is registered under. Bear in mind, it’s extremely rare for NIPs to be sent or received late.

You Can Request A Speed Awareness Course – This is false. Whilst some authorities offer offenders the option of a course, if you haven’t received an offer with your NIP you have no choice but to accept the fine and Penalty Points. You can, however, take the course multiple times depending on the severity of the offence. According to guidelines, this can’t be more than once every three years.

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