Top speed cameras gunning for your cash

Keep ahead of who or what's watching you... and stay below the limit

Keep ahead of who or what’s watching you… and stay below the limit


Heading out onto the highway, then it’s time to grab your wallet and prepare to be assaulted by a barrage of multipurpose ‘safety’ cameras all vying for a slice of your cash. Here’s our spotter’s guide to the UK’s most common roadside devices…


What is it: It’s the cute cuddly camera we all know and love. Exceed the speed limit and it’ll use radar and camera technology to take several photos of the car as it passes over a grid of white lines on the road surface. Gatso devices are rear facing to stop drivers being blinded by the powerful flash they use to ensure the car’s number plate and position are recorded. Additionally, the lines on the road are merely a back-up and the camera can tell the speed a vehicle was travelling without them. Gatso cameras are smart, too, and can distinguish between difference vehicle sizes – catching out HGVs and cars with caravans etc – that have separate speed limits. Many motorists would dodge fines because the camera’s role of film had run out, however, new cameras take digital pics and won’t run out of space.
Where are they: Mainly on busy A-roads, but the can be found just about anywhere. It used to the case that they could only be located at accident black spots.
Stealth rating: 2/5


What is it: These smart snoopers can monitor four lanes of traffic and are equipped with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), and photograph every vehicle that passes beneath their gantry- or pole-mounted location. The data is then shared with a second unit at least 200m down the road and the car’s average speed is then calculated. The cameras don’t use film and can communicate with a remote processing centre where tickets are issued. Effective regardless of time of day or weather conditions.
Where are they: Motorways and dual carriageways across the UK, with some even starting to appear on rural roads with accident black spots.
Stealth rating: 3/5



Truvelo: image credit

What is it: This is a forward-facing camera that works without a flash, so it won’t risk blinding the speeding driver. These devices take a photo of the driver’s face – cutting the risk of unscrupulous motorists getting someone else to take the points for them. The device is linked to sensors embedded in the road surface, which calculate the speed and trigger the camera.
Where are they: The Truvelo isn’t widely employed across the UK, but anyone pulling on their driving gloves in Northamptonshire and Hampshire should be on the lookout.
Stealth rating: 3/5

Truvelo D-Cam

Truvelo D-Cam: image credit

Truvelo D-Cam: image credit

What is it: Meet Truvelo max! This updated version of the Truvelo uses lasers and can store up to 100,000 images on an internal drive or ping photos directly – in real time – to a central processing hub. Unlike the standard Truvelo, the D-Cam can also be used as a forward- or rear-facing unit to keep motorists on their toes.
Where are they: You’ll find these on A- and B-roads, motorways and on traffic light signals. They’re not overly common yet, but West Yorkshire has a policy of replacing all of its devices with these digital cameras over the coming years.
Stealth rating: 4/5




What is it: One for the Big Brother conspiracy theorists, the SpeedSpike uses Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and can be linked to monitor a motorist’s entire journey. There are currently1,000 of the digital snoopers being assessed on the streets of Hampshire. The camera works in a similar way to average speed cameras – measuring speed over a certain distance, rather than at a single point in time like Gatsos. If successful – read profitable – expect a national roll-out over the next few years.
Where are they: Look out for these in Hampshire, particularly around the village of Hursley.
Stealth rating: 4/5

Mobile camera


Mobile camera: image credit

What is it: The old-school hand-held or tripod-mounted cameras that pop up at the side of a road. Using laser or radar technology, these cameras are still one of the hardest to spot. Look out for vans parked at the side of the road accompanied by men in hi-vis jackets trying to keep a distinctly low-vis profile.
Where are they: Expect these to pop up in lay-bys anywhere around the country. However, cops will usually pick high-value roads, so the answer is simply ‘don’t speed’!
Stealth rating: 4/5


HADECS3: image credit

HADECS3: image credit

What is it: Introduced by the erstwhile Highways Agency, the HADECS cameras – short for Highway Agency Digital Enforcement Camera System 3 – were intended to help improve traffic flow and improve motorway capacity, but they seem increasingly employed as average speed cameras. The anonymous grey paintjob makes them difficult to spot – sparking accusations of profit over safety for these cameras. They are mounted either on poles or in overhead gantries. The cameras don’t use film, with data being sent directly to a remote location for processing.
Where are they: These have been identified on the M25 in the Kent section, with more popping up on the M3 in Hampshire and Surrey, while the North gets them on the M1 in Derbyshire and Yorkshire. The M6 around Birmingham is also covered.
Stealth rating: 5/5



Vector: image credit

What is it: Live on the UK’s highways since 2014, these smart cameras work using ANPR. The multi-talented devices are not only used to catch speeding drivers, but also contraventions involving bus lanes, level crossings, red lights, tolls, congestion zones, parking, yellow box incursions and access control. The camera doesn’t use film, so there’s no limit to the amount of violations they can record and process.
Where are they: Find them popping up in Kent, but expect that to spread if successful. The small, hard-to-spot devices can be located on traffic lights, street lamps, poles, bridges and gantries.
Stealth rating: 4/5


SpeedCurb: image credit

SpeedCurb: image credit

What is it: These cameras can often be found keeping a watchful eye on traffic lights as well as speeding offences. The cameras are similar in appearance to Gatsos and also use a rear-facing camera to record the offence. However, unlike its counterpart, the SpeedCurb is not triggered by radar, but uses sensors embedded in the road surface. The SpeedCurb does not use film and digitally transfers records to a remote processing centre.
Where are they: These devices are common across the entire UK.
Stealth rating: 3/5


What is it: Similar in appearance and operation to the Gatso, the Peek uses radar to measure the vehicles speed as it passes by – recording it with a rear-facing camera.
Where are they: Counties currently using Peek Traffic cameras include Berkshire, Greater London and Leicestershire.
Stealth rating: 2/5

DS2 cameras


DS2 camera strips

What is it: These devices are semi-permanent systems that are hooked up to strips either laid on the road surface or embedded within it. The system can cover two lanes and traffic going in both directions. The cameras might be monitored by roadside police who’ll stop drivers at the scene and issue an on-the-spot fine, or left unattended to record offences to be processed at a later date. They’re incredibly hard to spot, but the strips are sometimes marked by short grey poles at the side of the road.
Where are they: Expect to find them where you live!
Stealth rating: 5/5

DVLA cameras

What are they: With the demise of the road tax disc, the DVLA has upped the number of cameras it has operating to spot vehicles that haven’t paid excise duty. These can be permanent or operated from roadside vehicle.
Where are they: All across the UK
Stealth rating: 4/5

Diary of a speeding ticket

Caught speeding... here's what happens next

Caught speeding… here’s what happens next

Worried that you might have been caught speeding? Firstly, you should slow down and comply with speed restrictions. However, it can be a worrying time waiting for a ticket, so here’s our guide to how the system works.

Will you get a ticket:

Will you get a ticket: Was the camera working, or were you actually speeding? The police have 14 days to issue the registered keeper of the vehicle involved with a notice of intended prosecution (NIP). If this doesn’t arrive within 14 days, it’s likely you will not be liable for prosecution. However, this is not a clear cut as it sounds and you should get legal advice if it arrives after 14 days – simply ignoring it could result in prosecution and further penalty points. You must act on your belief that the ticket arrived too late.

Are there any other time limits:

Are there any other time limits: Once the NIP has been sent and complied with, the case must progress within six months. If this is not the case, seek legal advice and ask for it to be thrown out.

What next:

What next: You will have to comply with the request to identify the driver of the car involved within 28 days. Fail to do this and you could find your licence endorsed with six penalty points and a £1,000 fine.

What about fines and endorsements:

What about fines and endorsements: Most offences captured by a speed camera will attract a penalty of £60 and three to six penalty points depending on the speed you were travelling. Serious breaches will not be dealt with through a fixed penalty notice and will be sent to court.

How long are penalty points valid:

How long are penalty points valid: Penalty points are valid on your licence for three years from the date of the offence, or from the date of your conviction if it’s heard in court. You will have to wait four years to have the offence completely wiped from your record.

Will taking a speed awareness course prevent points:

Will taking a speed awareness course prevent points: Yes, these courses are run by many police forces across the UK and will mean you don’t get points on your licence. You will have to pay to attend and they won’t apply to those convicted of serious speeding offences. It’s likely that those with a poor driving record won’t be offered the chance of attending such a course.


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