Speed Cameras

The first UK speed cameras were installed in West London in 1992. Within the first three years of their operation, these cameras reduced the number of people killed by 70%, reduced the number of people seriously injured by 27%, and reduced the number of people slightly injured by 8%.

By 1999, 4500 speed cameras had been installed on UK roads. These cameras issued 1 million speeding convictions in that year. By the end of 2004, 6000 speed cameras had been installed on UK roads; resulting in over 2 million speeding convictions for that year.

Currently the UK Police Force and Local Governments utilise nine different types of speed cameras in order to enforce speed limits on UK roads. The types of speed cameras currently in use include; Gatso, Truvelo, SPECS, Peek, SpeedCurb, Watchman, Traffic Light, DS2 and Mobile

These nine different types of speed camera utilise a variety of methods to detect motorists who exceed the speed limit. There are three main methods used:

  1. A laser or radar beam is directed at passing vehicles. When this beam is returned back to the speed camera it will notify the machine of the exact speeds of the vehicles passing. If any of the speeds of these vehicles exceed the limit, a photograph is taken and a ticket is issued.
  2. Loops are implemented within the road. When vehicles drive over these loops in excess of the speed limit, the speed camera is triggered, and once again a photograph is taken and a ticket is issued.
  3. A photograph is taken of all passing vehicles at a particular point on the road. A similar photograph is taken several hundred metres down the road. These two photographs are date and time stamped, and can be used by the speed camera in order to calculate your average speed over a particular stretch of road. If your average speed exceeds the limit, you are issued with a fine.

Motorists who are detected by these different types of cameras to be driving in excess of the speed limit will have three points added to their licence and will be required to pay a £60 fixed penalty.

Speed Camera Statistics

  • The SPECS speed camera on the A610 has recorded approximately 76,000 motorists in 5 years. This individual speed camera has caught approximately a third of the speeding drivers in the county and has resulted in the issuing of £4.2million in fines.
  • According to the Department for Transport, there were 3,508 road deaths in 2003; which demonstrates a 2% increase from 2002. In 2003, 693 motorcyclists were killed on UK roads; a 14% increase from 2002.
  • Speeding convictions rose by 229% between 1993 and 2000 whilst other driving related convictions (such as dangerous or drunken driving) have decreased.
  • According to the Department of Transport, less than 4% of accidents are caused by exceeding the speed limit. Moreover, Safespeed released the breakdown of the causes of accidents from 13 police forces from 2001, which states: “Excessive speed includes both speeding in excess of the speed limit and inappropriate speed for the conditions. However, data from Avon & Somerset (the only force to supply such data) shows that 70% of “excessive speed” accidents takes place within the speed limit. Therefore it’s fair to assume that 30% involves exceeding the speed limit. A quick calculation (30% of 12.5%) reveals that just 3.75% of accidents involves exceeding the speed limit”.
  • Departmental cutbacks in the number of Traffic Police have been linked to an increase in road deaths. Over the course of 10 years, the number of UK traffic police has decreased from 8,900 to 6,500.These cutbacks have been regarded by many as a direct result of the “robotic policing” of speed cameras.
  • More people were killed in road accidents in 2003 in Essex than in the previous year despite the increase of speed cameras. Official statistics highlight that 24% more people died even though the government and police insist that cameras save lives.
  • In 2002, the British Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) recorded that 7.3% of accidents were caused primarily by excessive speed.
  • The UK Government claims that 1 in 3 accidents are speed related. However, these figures are biased by the fact that numerous causes of accidents are classed as ‘speed related’. Amongst these causes include; excessive speed, failure to judge other person’s path or speed, following too close, slippery road, in a hurry, aggressive driving, weather and other.
  • Since November 2006, it is legal to use a speed camera detector in the UK. These devices will notify you of all fixed and mobile speed camera locations on the road you are using.
  • The government’s guidelines for erecting cameras says that the location must have had at least four fatal and serious collisions in the last three calendar years.
  • An AA survey has identified 173 miles of the most dangerous roads in the UK. However, only 4 out of the 5000 cameras in the country are located on these highly dangerous roads.
  • Since the introduction of speed cameras to the UK in 1993, the drop in the number of fatalities per year has decreased by one third. The Mail on Sunday released a series of figures which had been supplied directly from 11 police forces. This data demonstrated that, despite the increase in the number of speed cameras since 2001, there has been an increase in road deaths.
  • The number of fixed penalty fines issued in England and Wales has increased seven-fold between 2000 and 2004. In the year 2000/2001, approximately 260,000 fines were issued. This number had substantially increased by the year 2003/2004, during which time approximately 1.8 million fines were issued. According to recent reports, speed cameras earn the Treasury over £20million a year in profits.


In order to avoid being issued with a speeding fine, it is advisable that you practice the following driving measures:

  • Find out the speed limit for the particular roads on which you frequently travel
  • Adhere to the national speed limit regulations at all times
  • Utilise a speed camera detector; these devices are often integrated within sat-nav devices and will warn you of any upcoming speed cameras as well as the speed limit for the road on which you are travelling