Home > Speeding Tickets > Types of Speed Cameras

Types of Speed Cameras

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 24 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Speed Cameras Gatso Mini-gatso Truvelo

There are several different types of Speed Camera situated across the UK just waiting to catch out unsuspecting motorists who are driving faster than they should be. Nicknamed the 'Yellow Peril', they've become a nightmare for drivers everywhere. Here’s a guide to what the different cameras do:

Gatso Meter Speed Cameras

Gatso speed cameras use radar technology and as they can be used as fixed speed cameras, fixed upon tripods, used inside moving police vehicles and in-car mobile police units, they are extremely convenient for local authorities and police forces across the UK. Because of this, they account for 90% of our fixed speed cameras.

Costing approximately £20,000 per camera - or £40,000 in rural locations due to the need for a 240v power supply, the fixed Gatso cameras can take up to 400 pictures before the film runs out, and are rear-facing. They are designed this way so that when the camera flashes at a Speeding Motorist, it doesn't blind them and cause an accident. However this means that you often don't see a Gatso camera until the very last minute- which makes sure that the camera pays for itself relatively quickly. Often you'll find two Gatso's pointing in opposite directions, to catch motorists travelling either way.

Annoyingly, they are clever little machines which can distinguish between different sizes of vehicles and can also enforce separate speeding limits - e.g. on roads where cars and vans are allowed to drive at 60mph, but HGVs are restricted to 40mph, it will be able to tell which is which, and enforce the limits accordingly.

Truvelo Speed Cameras

Truvelo system is steadily becoming more common and some parts of the UK now predominantly use this type of camera. Three white lines are painted just ahead of the Truvelo camera and there are strips in the road that register the speed of the passing vehicle and trigger the camera.

By using an infra-red flash, the Truvelo camera avoids the flash that the rear Gatso cameras produce when a photograph is taken. This means that the driver doesn't see a flash but the camera can take a photograph of the driver, as well as the front of the vehicle.

SPECS Cameras

SPECS work in conjunction with the Automatic Number Plate Reading (ANPR) technology. These are the cameras that you often see fixed to gantries towering over motorways or larger roads. You might also see them on central reservations or on the roadside.

They are fitted with infra red illuminators and are only ever seen in groups of 2 or more. The groups of cameras are fixed at separate locations and work together to establish the average speed a vehicle is travelling at - by working out how long it took it to travel between each camera position.

When a car goes past the first and last cameras (and any in between), the number plate details are recorded digitally. Using ANPR technology the video images of the number plates are married up, and the computer is able to work out which vehicles are speeding, and which are not.

The SPECS cameras are gaining in popularity, because they allow local authorities to impose controlled speed networks over various lengths of road using technology that is already available. They are currently situated at various locations across the UK.

Traffic Light Cameras

Cameras attached to traffic lights either work using radar technology (same as the Gatsos), or from ground loops which are set into the road surface. The loop system works by activating when the lights turn red and if a vehicle passes over the road sensors after this time, then a photograph will be taken.

As you'd expect from the name, Traffic Light Speed Cameras were only initially intended to catch drivers going through red lights, however now the cameras are often also used to measure motorists speed, just like a regular speed camera. So you need to be extra careful - if you speed up to sneak through an amber light and misjudge your timing you could end up with a red light offence and a speeding offence - both from the same camera!

Mobile Cameras

Across the UK, police use various hand held and mobile devices to catch out speeding drivers. They include the Mini Gatso and Laser Guns (Teletraffic or ‘hairdryers’)Mini-Gatsos are just what they sound like, mini versions of the dreaded Gatso Cameras. Laser gun are hand held cameras that record a cars number plate on video film, so that the speed can be recorded.

Caught by a Camera?

Don’t forget, If you are caught speeding by any speed camera, it is likely that you will receive a minimum of 3 Penalty Points and a £100 fine, so drive safely and sensibly, and don’t get caught out!

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[Add a Comment]
Toffeetrouble - Your Question:
I was making my way home from work on a short 30mph stretch where I have been caught speeding previously going to work coming from a 50 limit to the 30. This time I was building up speed at 35mph shortly before the 50 sign. There was a police car stationary on the other side of the road (opposite facing). Does this mean that I will get another letter in the post? No sign of any external camera obviously they have dashboard cams don't they? Just my luck as since the previous I have always slowed down to 30 going to work and never see any police.

Our Response:
We can't say unfortunately. If you were doing more than 30mph in the 30mpn zone and there was a camera in use, then maybe you will receive an NIP. Action is not always taken for speeds of 35mph or under.
NoPenaltyPoints - 7-Apr-17 @ 2:43 PM
I was making my way home from work on a short 30mph stretch where I have been caught speeding previously going to work coming from a 50 limit to the 30. This time I was building up speed at 35mph shortly before the 50 sign. There was a police car stationary on the other side of the road (opposite facing). Does this mean that I will get another letter in the post? No sign of any external camera obviously they have dashboard cams don't they? Just my luck as since the previous I have always slowed down to 30 going to work and never see any police.
Toffeetrouble - 2-Apr-17 @ 5:54 PM
Just driving down the road doing about 23 in a 20 and saw a police van on the left hand side of road ahead and a police officer with a tripod. The can on the left had a female officer writing things down - is this a speed camera? I slowed so wondered if it is how far they reach x
Lolitashedevil - 4-Mar-17 @ 3:36 PM
Bja - Your Question:
I saw a man on a country lane setting up a camera one on a tripod stand however he just looked like a workman could this have been a speed monitor

Our Response:
It was probably a workman with a theodolite. They do look very much like cameras as you drive past.
NoPenaltyPoints - 24-Feb-17 @ 10:37 AM
i was driving last week in bradford on westgate road on 15-02-2017 the new digitla camra flash on me but i dont know that camra catch me or not so 30zone but i thing i was doing 35
yousef - 21-Feb-17 @ 10:53 PM
I saw a man on a country lane setting up a camera one on a tripod stand however he just looked like a workman could this have been a speed monitor
Bja - 21-Feb-17 @ 1:11 PM
Marark - Your Question:
I was on m1 just before j26 traveluing South, I was flushed by a camera even though it was no speed restriction warning as usual. I travel through that spot regularly and about at the same speed why it flushed this time and not others?

Our Response:
It's not unknown for variable speed cameras to capture people travelling in excess of the National speed limit. If you didn't see any speed restriction signs and you were travelling below 70mph you may be able to argue this if it is taken further.
NoPenaltyPoints - 16-Feb-17 @ 2:00 PM
I was on m1 just before j26 traveluing South, I was flushed by a camera even though it was no speed restriction warning as usual. I travel through that spot regularly and about at the same speed why it flushed this time and not others?
Marark - 16-Feb-17 @ 3:29 AM
Tina84 - Your Question:
Went past an auto number plate reader camera and it flashed, can any1 tell me why as was not speeding. Thanks

Our Response:
It may have been checking/recording other information such as your vehicle tax, MOT or insurance etc.
NoPenaltyPoints - 7-Feb-17 @ 1:57 PM
Went past an auto number plate reader camera and it flashed, can any1 tell me why as was not speeding. Thanks
Tina84 - 6-Feb-17 @ 3:53 PM
Hi Today I had a really strange one. An unmarked car using what looked like a laser device from the rear window. In the inside lane of a 40 doing about 25-30. As I overtook I didn't see the driver but there was a laptop in the passenger seat can't confirm if their was a passenger seat. I reckon at my quickest I was doing 45. Can speed cameras be mobile and moving, unmarked and going at this slow rate of speed. I phoned my local police to find out what the deal was as I am on 6 points already and don't want any more just telling them what I seen fishing for info really. The got back to me quickly saying there was no such police vehicle doing checks in that area and marked units have been deployed to check it out. Really strange, but can they be mobile. Must be difficult to monitor correctly and therefore easy to get off of.
Sarge - 9-Jan-17 @ 9:50 PM
Recently my mate was driving to work on an A road at 0635am. On the opposite side of the road a car was pulling into a parking lay by area. My friend didn't think much of this and passed the car as it was still 'parking'. But about 5/8secs later she thought she saw a flash. Now she said she was doing around 65/67mph on a 60mph road and got worried that this might've been a mobile speed camera unit. She said she travelled a wee bit before turning back to try and put her mind at ease, but when she got back to the lay by the car had pulled in to (20/30mins after the supposed flash) the car was not there. Could this have been a mobile speed camera unit or is my friend panicking over nothing? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Katusha - 6-Jan-17 @ 12:35 PM
Ricky Bobby - Your Question:
A camera by me has changed from a normal gatso to an average speed. Theres a speed camera sign up but just the picture; my question is do they have to change the sign to an 'average speed' one? Thanks

Our Response:
No, there's no requirement to describe the type of camera.
NoPenaltyPoints - 5-Jan-17 @ 1:44 PM
A camera by me has changed from a normal gatso to an average speed. Theres a speed camera sign up but just the picture; my question is do they have to change the sign to an 'average speed' one? Thanks
Ricky Bobby - 4-Jan-17 @ 8:24 PM
Spam84 - Your Question:
I just wanted to ask what the rules were: I was driving off a slip road on to a dual carriage way (which was 40 mph) I seen the speed cam as I was coming on and only went on the white speed line (well 2 of them) can you still get a speeding ticket if you don't go from start to finish on the lines?

Our Response:
Yes possibly...it would depend upon what kind of camera was in operation. The white lines are usually just to assist with extra evidence if needed.
NoPenaltyPoints - 13-Dec-16 @ 11:28 AM
I just wanted to ask what the rules were: I was driving off a slip road on to a dual carriage way (which was 40 mph) I seen the speed cam as I was coming on and only went on the white speed line (well 2 of them) can you still get a speeding ticket if you don't go from start to finish on the lines?
Spam84 - 11-Dec-16 @ 4:33 PM
Was driving on m6 toll northbound when I noticed a single person looking into a camera mounted ontripod on one of the bridges.The camera had a red beam coming from it pointing down at my carThe person i don't think was wearing the usual high viz police coats nor was there any police cars on the bridge or anyone one else there.It was just one person with a tripod mounted camera.Could this have been a speed trap? I wasn't exactly hanging around as I was in a hurry.
Sare - 8-Dec-16 @ 11:51 PM
Willo - Your Question:
I'm a taxi driver. Received notice for alleged 40mph in a 30 zone. From a mobile police camera van. Can I fight this. If yes how do I go about this. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Gordon.

Our Response:
We don't know why you think you can fight it as you've not said why?
NoPenaltyPoints - 23-Nov-16 @ 2:45 PM
I'm a taxi driver. Received notice for alleged 40mph in a 30 zone. From a mobile police camera van. Can I fight this. If yes how do I go about this . Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Gordon.
Willo - 23-Nov-16 @ 1:11 PM
Motorway cameras do they flash and if they are not lit up as In with a speed limit do they flash you +70cheeres
Oioi - 10-Nov-16 @ 8:26 PM
Flower - Your Question:
Was driving at 35mph in work van an a mobile camera in van clocked me in 30 mph zone. I have read that if not informed in 14 days I can argue case. My company received letter 21 days later. Should I contest. ?

Our Response:
If you can prove that the original NIP was dated more than 14 days after the offence you may stand a chance of appealing.
NoPenaltyPoints - 10-Nov-16 @ 12:33 PM
Was driving at 35mph in work van an a mobile camera in van clocked me in 30 mph zone. I have read that if not informed in 14 days I can argue case. My company received letter 21 days later. Should I contest. ?
Flower - 9-Nov-16 @ 9:06 PM
I overtook a very slow car on a 30 road after which I saw a man sitting in an unmarked small van on the road side 2 days ago; I actually slowed down before I got to the point.I am not sure if it was a speed camera van? I'm scared as I took the speed awareness course a few months ago!
Fran - 4-Nov-16 @ 7:52 AM
Mum - Your Question:
I was in a 20mph zone and drove past some policemen sitting in a parked police BMW estate. Can't remember if I was doing over 20. I couldn't see a camera. Will I get a ticket through the post or were they on the look out for people using phones etc?

Our Response:
We really don't know as we weren't there! Assuming you are the registered keeper of the vehicle and have not changed address recently you will hear within 14 days if you were speeding (and it was a mobile speed detector)
NoPenaltyPoints - 10-Oct-16 @ 10:17 AM
I was in a 20mph zone and drove past some policemen sitting in a parked police BMW estate. Can't remember if I was doing over 20. I couldn't see a camera. Will I get a ticket through the post or were they on the look out for people using phones etc?
Mum - 7-Oct-16 @ 8:08 AM
Hi, I was flashed today doing around 40 in a 30mph zone in Sunderland due to me speeding up as two lanes were going into one. I was in the outside lane edging into the inside lane where there were other cars. I believe it was a gatso camera that flashed twice. The camera was behind me to my left when it flashed and I drove over white lines which were on both sides of the road after the camera. Can this take front photos? Also could this be me it flashed or the people behind me closer to the camera in the other lane going in the same direction? Thanks For your help Regards
Marco - 26-Sep-16 @ 10:45 PM
Yo - Your Question:
I driver as a volunteer for a school, in the holidays I took some kids to Liverpool, I received a nip for going 36 thru a red light at 0 seconds, the were a roundy bikers, so I went thru to avoid stopping next to them , what the chances of getting off this fine. Thanks

Our Response:
The likely penalty will probably be 3 points plus £100 fine. There's a chance you might be offered a driver awareness course.
NoPenaltyPoints - 20-Sep-16 @ 11:52 AM
I driver as a volunteer for a school, in the holidays I took some kids to Liverpool, I received a nip for going 36 thru a red light at 0 seconds, the were a roundy bikers, so I went thru to avoid stopping next to them , what the chances of getting off this fine. Thanks
Yo - 18-Sep-16 @ 2:01 PM
Sarah - Your Question:
I was driving on the M1 where I habitually keep the speedo reading 70-75. The variable speed limit changed to 50 and I was flashed immediately. I now have a letter to prosecute me for doing 77mph in a 50 zone. Should I try to challenge it and ask to see their photographic evidence? Will doing so cause me further problems? What should I expect to happen and how can I best deal with it?

Our Response:
You should only challenge this if you feel you have solid evidence to prove your case. Ingeneral there is adequate time between sight of a variable speed sign and your position to slow down sufficiently. If you feel this wasn't the case you should consult a motoring lawyer.
NoPenaltyPoints - 6-Sep-16 @ 2:25 PM
I was driving on the M1 where I habitually keep the speedo reading 70-75. The variable speed limit changed to 50 and I was flashed immediately. I now have a letter to prosecute me for doing 77mph in a 50 zone. Should I try to challenge it and ask to see their photographic evidence? Will doing so cause me further problems? What should I expect to happen and how can I best deal with it?
Sarah - 5-Sep-16 @ 3:59 PM
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