Speed cameras – top 10 myths busted

There are loads of theories about how speed cameras work. Are some of them switched off? Do you only get caught if you go over 10% of the speed limit plus 2mph? We’ve done the research to bring you the actual facts about speed cameras…

car speedometerWhilst speeding is dangerous and is breaking the law, speed cameras are the nemesis of motorists everywhere. The first speed camera was installed in the UK 25 years ago and since then millions of drivers have been caught speeding.

The easiest and safest way to avoid speeding fines is to stick to the speed limit, but rumours have circulated for years about ways to avoid getting caught and ways to get out of getting points on your licence. Below we go through some of the more popular myths about speed cameras…

Some cameras are switched off/do not work

Freedom of Information requests have shown that not all cameras are operational at all times, but it is probably prudent to assume that they are functional. A spokesman for road safety charity Brake has said:

“Brake fully supports the use of speed cameras, and would encourage the return to use of any cameras that have been turned off. Speed cameras are proven to reduce speeding, and can catch far higher numbers of speeding drivers than traffic police with mobile cameras.”

You do not necessarily have to be travelling at 10% of the limit + 2mph to get caught

Whilst the NPCC (National Police Chiefs Council, formerly ACPO, Association of Chief Police Officers) suggests that police do not seek prosecution until a driver surpasses 10% of the limit + 2mph, the law states that just 1mph over the speed limit can result in a speeding ticket – but police officers are able to use their discretion. It doesn’t mean that travelling at 35mph on a 30mph is legal, however.

Driving fast does not avoid triggering the camera

Thinking that driving extra-fast past a camera will avoid triggering it is completely nonsensical – if you don’t want to trigger the camera then stick within the speed limit!

You have to be notified within a certain amount of time for your speeding offence notice to be valid

A driver caught by a speed camera must be sent a NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) within 14 days. This goes to the registered owner of the vehicle.

The rules are different for those caught by a police officer – you will be advised of the process when you are stopped.

Speed cameras do not have to be painted yellow to be legal

Some cameras are still grey, despite the Government wanting to paint them all yellow in England. And they still work just the same.

Average speed cameras DO work

Average speed cameras enforce the speed limit over a longer stretch of road, preventing drivers from speeding up after they have passed a camera – Brake think they are particularly beneficial because of this and prevent dangerous driver behaviour.

You cannot request a speed awareness course

If you are entitled to attend a speed awareness course instead of being prosecuted then you will be notified by the police – if you haven’t been offered one then you are not eligible.

You might be able to do a speed awareness course more than once

If you have been on a speed awareness course already and get caught speeding again, you might be able to attend another, but only if it is three years since you first attended a speed awareness course and might also depend on the severity of your offence.

You do have to declare a speed awareness course to your insurer

A spokesman for Brake says:

“Drivers who fail to reveal that they have undertaken a speed awareness course, who then later make a claim to their insurance provider, may find that their policy is invalid. Information on whether a driver has taken a speed awareness course is held by local police forces.”

You can’t get caught on a bicycle or horse

The legislation on speed limits covers motor or mechanically propelled vehicles – and it is unlikely that other road users would reach the necessary speeds to be above the limit.