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Busting two common myths about speed cameras

SPEEDING fines can be an expensive reminder to slow down for those motorists who travel too quickly on public roads. 

But there are lots of myths and legends surrounding the use of speed cameras, which is how a lot of speeding motorists get “done”.

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The distinctive flash of a Gatso normally means you were going too fastCredit: Alamy

Do speed cameras always flash?

There are lots of different types of speed camera approved for use in the UK. 

The Gatso, introduced in 1992, is the oldest such speed camera and has a distinctive double flash. 

Originally, this camera took photographs on rolls of analogue film.

But there are several types of speed camera that can be used to detect drivers travelling too fast, and not all of them are equipped with a flash. 

Average speed checks, mostly in use on motorways and dual carriageways but also installed on faster stretches of B-road, do not take an image of the offence in the same way as a fixed speed camera.

Instead, they detect your number plate passing two or more places, and calculate how fast you must have been going to travel that distance.

They won’t flash while they’re doing this – their cameras work in the dark. 

And cameras used in roadside vans are unlikely to use a flash. Some can detect offences from up to a kilometer away. 

Are all speed cameras yellow?

Most speed cameras are a bright colour to ensure drivers know they’re there. 

But not all speed cameras are bulky, brightly-coloured or obvious

While government guidance clearly states that speed cameras should be painted yellow to make them easy to spot, there’s no law stipulating this. 

And while the majority of cameras in the UK have been made yellow in the five years since the government made this change, there may still be some that have yet to be altered. 

Mobile speed cameras can also be difficult to spot. 

The apparatus itself is ordinarily grey or black, though the person operating it should be wearing high-visibility clothing. 

How much is a speeding fine?

The penalty for speeding is normally £100 and three points on your licence. 

If you are caught speeding, you will be sent a notice of intended prosecution (a NIP) and a Section 172 notice. 

You must return the Section 172 notice to inform the police of who was driving the vehicle at the time. 

You will then be sent either a fixed penalty notice, or a letter telling you to go to court. 

The court can impose a bigger fine than you will receive via a fixed penalty notice, which is usually a percentage of your weekly income up to £1,000.

This increases to £2,500 if the offence took place on a motorway. 

The court can also disqualify you from driving or suspend your licence.

If you are stopped by police at the roadside you may be given a verbal warning about your speed.

They can also give you a £100 fixed penalty notice and three points on your licence. 

But you can also have to attend court following a police stop, depending on the severity of the offence. 

Speed camera officer reveals what you CAN and CAN’T do on the roads and tells drivers how they can dodge fines

 

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