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June 2024

Every type of speed camera in the UK

Every type of speed camera in the UK
The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and three penalty points. So, to help you avoid those unnecessary costs, read on to find out more about every type of speed camera in the UK...

George Hill
Updated28 February 2024

Things have developed quickly since the UK ’s first speed camera was installed on the M40 motorway in 1991, catching 400 speeders in the first 40 minutes.
There are now around 7000 cameras around the UK ’s road network, and in 2022 they resulted in the prosecution of 245,043 people – the highest figure since records began.
The main argument for speed cameras is that of road safety, with many research studies concluding that they are beneficial. It is known that speed is a contributory factor in accidents; the higher the speed, the more severe the potential injuries, so any means of persuading drivers to use appropriate speed results in fewer accidents, as well as a reduction in deaths and serious injuries when collisions do occur.

In 2017, the London School of Economics conducted a study based on collision data before and after speed cameras were installed in 2500 locations in England, Wales and Scotland. It showed that accidents within 500 metres of a speed camera fell by 17-39%, and fatalities by 58-68%, in the period between 1992 and 2016. The study noted a slight increase in accidents up to 1.5km away from the camera, but the overall rate was lower than before.

More cameras have been installed since then, and with the figure of 1633 road deaths in the year ending 30 June 2023 representing a 9% decrease on the previous period, the results appear to be positive. That means we’re likely to see yet more cameras on our roads – and they won’t just be used for catching speeders.
Excess speed is by no means the only cause of accidents. Other major contributory factors, include not wearing a seatbelt and using handheld mobile phones while driving. These offences can be recorded by the latest arrival on our roads: the Vector SR.
In 2023, Greater Manchester became the first region to install Vector SR cameras, which can collect images of vehicles on both sides of a road at once. It says the 100 units on its roads will be used primarily to catch those breaking
speed limits, although anyone prosecuted might also be charged with other offences, such as using a handheld mobile phone.
It is hoped that the technology will help to enforce the law surrounding mobile phone use in cars. In 2020, 17 people were killed and 499 injured in accidents where distracted driving caused by mobile phone use was thought to be a contributory factor. 
Research by the AA Charitable Trust in 2023 revealed that 93% of motorists have witnessed illegal phone use, yet the Government has said that only 6200 fines were issued in 2021, compared with 31,400 in 2011.
The Vector SR is just one of at least 15 different types of camera currently in use, ranging from the highly recognisable Gatso to high-tech digital handheld units.

Every type of speed camera in the UK
Aecom mobile speed camera
What is it? A fairly new type of camera that was introduced in 2022 and uses AI to detect offences such as speeding, the use of mobile phones while driving, and drivers not wearing their seatbelts. It can be fixed to a police van so it can be deployed across different locations.
How does it work? The system uses multiple cameras with high shutter speeds, an infrared flash and a lensing and filtering system to record high-definition images of passing vehicles. Once the images have been taken, they are reviewed by AI software and a person to correctly identify the offence. If an offence is found, a warning letter or a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) will be sent to the driver.
Need to know: The purpose of this camera is to combine several enforcement applications into a single system, while also improving accuracy compared with other systems.
Digital Specs
What is it? It’s used to police average speed zones and is often seen mounted on gantries at the sides of motorways.
How does it work? The system uses multiple installations along a road (a minimum of two) and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) records the average speeds of vehicles. When a vehicle passes the first camera, an infrared photo is taken and the time recorded. When it passes the second camera, two photos – infrared and colour – are taken. A computer analyses the photos to retrieve the registration plate. Another compares the times of the two infrared photos to calculate the vehicle’s speed between cameras. If the average speed is above the threshold, an NIP will be sent to the driver, as with all speed camera violations.

Need to know: It’s commonly believed that drivers can fool these cameras by changing lanes, but sometimes they are set to overlap. As a result, and because it’s not clear which cameras ‘clocked’ you in and out, it’s unwise to take the risk.
DS2/SpeedMaster/Autovision/Autovision 2

What are they? These are four very similar semi-permanent installations that can cover two lanes of road at once, capturing data on cars travelling in two different directions.
How do they work? Identifiable by their short, grey boxes, these can calculate the speed a vehicle is doing when it runs over two ‘piezo’ strips that are embedded into the surface of the road one metre apart. This information is synchronised with a camera located either in a vehicle or in a fixed installation, in order to photograph any offending vehicle.
Need to know: These cameras are small and can be hard to spot. They can be linked to a police car farther up the road, and an officer can immediately pull you over to issue a warning and perhaps a ticket.
Gatsometer Type 24

What is it? A fixed rearwardfacing speed camera.
How does it work? The ‘Gatso’ camera’s radar measures the speed of passing vehicles. If it exceeds a pre-set threshold, the camera takes two pictures. However, these alone are insufficient for prosecution, so a series of white lines (or secondary check marks) on the road ahead of the camera help to confirm the vehicle’s speed. A Gatso can’t record the speed of an approaching vehicle but might be rotated periodically to monitor the opposite carriageway.

Need to know: Gatsos can be set in dummy mode, in which no photos are taken but motorists who exceed the speed limit will be flashed as a warning. A digital version that doesn’t use film was launched in 2007.
What is it? It enforces variable speed limits on major roads, primarily sections of ‘smart’ motorway such as those on the M1, M6 and M25. Each camera is located on a gantry above its respective lane.
How does it work? A radar sensor measures vehicle speed, and if it is above the variable limit threshold, the camera takes three photos. Two are analysed by enforcement staff and provide a secondary check of the vehicle’s speed based on marks on the road. The third picture is a close-up of the number plate.
Need to know: Hadecs 3 is the latest version found on some smart motorways, usually situated at the side of gantries, not on top, and often painted grey. It can scan up to five lanes from one location and can take photos of vehicles exceeding standard speed limits, not just the variable ones indicated on gantries.
'Long Ranger' Camera
What are they? A manned longrange camera for use inside a police van or at the roadside.
How does it work? Radar speed evidence supports a photo that can be recorded from up to 1km away.
Need to know: Using this device, Gloucester police caught 1325 people speeding in a single month, including one driver who was doing 126mph on the A417. As well as speeders, it can be used to catch tailgaters, middle-lane hoggers, drivers not wearing seatbelts and people using a phone behind the wheel.
LTI 20/20 TruCam II handheld speed gun
What are they? A handheld speed detector that uses laser technology to measure vehicle speed information and has a video function to record evidence of offences for use in court.
How does it work? Using an integrated laser, it measures the time and distance between vehicles in order to calculate how fast they are travelling. Its built-in digital video camera can collect video evidence of speeding and other offences, including seatbelts not being worn. It’s able to identify makes and models and read the numberplates of vehicles up to 750 metres away, and it incorporates GPS technology to identify the location every time filming starts.
Need to know: Many motorists think speed guns can capture data only during daylight hours, but the TrueCam II has a night mode that enables it to take footage in the dark.
Mobile Speed Camera
What is it? These are usually operated by police officers in vans at the side of the road, though they have been known to be more inventive – at least once famously using a horsebox, for instance.
How does it work? Officers use a variety of handheld devices that use radar and even lasers to detect speed.
Did you know? They are often rapidly deployed to accident blackspots or after local concerns in small villages situated on fast B-roads.
Redguard Camera (Red Light Violations)
What is it? A fixed camera that’s used to police red traffic light violations in up to four lanes at once.
How does it work? Sensors in the road just past the stop line are activated when the light turns red. If a vehicle passes the sensors , three digital photos are taken: one of the vehicle in motion, a zoom shot of the number plate and a wide-angle shot of the vehicle and the environment.
Need to know: When set to do so , this camera can also record speeding offences when the lights are green.
REDFLEX Speed Camera
What is it? A new type of camera only recently approved for use by the authorities. The REDFLEXspeed can be used on motorways, and can catch speeders across six lanes if required.
How does it work? It uses radar in conjunction with an 11-megapixel digital camera.
Need to know: Unlike older models, this camera can deal with multiple offenders at the same time.
Siemens SafeZone
What is it? This camera type is one of the more recent to arrive in the UK. Developed by German industrial giant Siemens, it’s used to monitor a vehicle’s average speed in a defined area, such as a neighbourhood speed limit zone.
How does it work? Each unit has a small digital camera and can be linked to a network and central server via 3G. This enables number plate images to be processed via ANPR, with average speeds calculated for the area.
Need to know: It can measure speeds between 20mph and 140mph, and is often placed near schools where pedestrian safety is paramount.
SpeedCurb Camera
What is it? A fixed, rearwardfacing camera that can monitor up to two lanes simultaneously. Or, with an additional unit facing in the opposite direction, it can police both ways on a four-lane road. Used to record traffic light offences as well as speed limit infractions.
How does it work? It uses three piezo sensors one metre apart in the road to calculate a passing vehicle’s speed, recording offenders photographically. A further set of check marks on the road surface strengthen the evidence.
Need to know: The SpeedCurb takes three digital images: two wide-angled shots showing the vehicle and its location, as well as the progress of the vehicle over time, and a third focusing on its number plate, from which the number is retrieved by computer via ANPR.
SpeedSpike Camera
What is it? An average speed camera that can be deployed in many traffic scenarios, including to enforce motorway speed limits as well as more localised urban speed restrictions.
How does it work? A digital camera captures number plates and applies ANPR and a timestamp, and the time elapsing before the number plate is registered by the next camera is used to calculate speed. Prosecution notices are generated automatically.
Need to know: Up to 1000 different SpeedSpike cameras can be networked to share data, communicating via GPRS and 3G.
Truvelo Combi Forward Facing
What is it? A fixed speed camera that can be forward or rearward facing, and captures the vehicle and driver on film.
How does it work? Four pairs of sensors in the road measure the speed of passing vehicles. Closer towards the camera, three painted lines serve as calibration markers, with speeding vehicles snapped as they cross the middle line.
Need to know: Recording photographic evidence of the driver makes it difficult for them to deny they were driving. However, when a
speeding ticket is issued, the photo will only be released to the driver with their permission, so as to avoid potential embarrassment.
Truvelo D-cam
What is it? A digital speed camera that’s been brought in by many police forces to replace ageing Gatsos. It can also act as a red light camera.
How does it work? It contains a digital camera that can store up to 100,000 photos. It sits on a pole and can be lowered so the photos can be downloaded to a PC or other device. Alternatively, photos can be sent to an office in real time for processing. The device can cover up to three lanes of traffic. There is also an uprated version, called the D-Cam L, which uses a laser to measure speed.

Need to know: It can face in either direction, so it can target the front or rear of passing cars.
What is it? A two-lane, bidirectional average speed camera that incorporates ANPR technology. It can be used as a speed camera, or for enforcement of other road regulations, such as bus lane, red light, yellow box and congestion charging enforcement.
How does it work? It uses ANPR and timestamping to identify vehicles and calculate their average speed between different camera locations. It can monitor two lanes of traffic at a time, either flowing in the same or opposite directions. It works in all weathers and can record vehicles travelling at motorway speeds.
Need to know: Vector cameras have become more abundant on UK roads in recent years because the installation cost has dropped from £1.5m per mile in the early 2000s to around £100,000 per mile in recent years.
Vector SR
What is it? The next generation of Vector camera is able to capture video footage of up to three lanes of traffic travelling in both directions. 
How does it work? It uses a video camera that works with an ‘intelligent virtual grid’ (this means no road markings are necessary) to determine if a vehicle is speeding. Built-in ANPR technology is used to identify vehicles from their number plates. Using infrared light for illumination means there’s no need for a visible flash, so lawbreakers won’t immediately know they’ve been caught. It also means that the camera can capture images at night and in bad weather.
Need to know: The VR can be used for speed limit enforcement as well as to capture traffic light offences. The images it captures can also be used for secondary prosecutions; these include such infractions as drivers not wearing seatbelts or using handheld mobile phones while driving, as well as making illegal turns.

Other types of cameras on UK roads
Siemens 'Sicore II' ANPR camera (ULEZ camera)
 What is it? This is an ANPR camera used to monitor the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
How does it work? The camera monitors three lanes at 40 frames a second – that’s 2500 moving vehicles per hour per lane. Once the camera has scanned the vehicle number plate, it checks the registration against a database to see if the vehicle complies with the emission standards.
Need to know: As of November 2023, there were approximately 3000 cameras across Greater London to enforce the ULEZ. In October 2023, the first month of its operation, 13,000 non-compliant vehicles were caught.
Traffic monitoring camera
What are they? Traffic monitoring cameras do exactly what they say on the tin. In most cases, they monitor the levels of traffic on the UK's motorway network.
How does it work? Essentially a type of CCTV camera, traffic monitoring cameras are monitored by highway officers to check level of traffic. If an area is found to be experiencing a high level of congestion, the officers can then attempt to reduce this by alerting drivers with messages on overhead gantries. If debris, a stranded vehicle or a crash is spotted, officers can also inform the emergency services or send a traffic officer to provide assistance.

Did you know? Over 4000 traffic monitoring cameras are in operation across the UK motorway network. In some cases (such as following an incident), you can request access to CCTV/traffic camera footage.

Your speed camera questions answered
How do you know if a speed camera caught you?
There’s no official way of knowing if you’ve been caught speeding; not all cameras produce the dreaded double flash that you might fear seeing in your rear-view mirror. All you can do is wait and see if you receive a notice in the post from the police fo rce of the county in which you were driving. This usually arrives within 14 days of the offence taking place.
How much will you pay for a speeding fine in the UK?
The minimum fine for speeding in the UK is £100 and three penalty points. In some cases , you can pay to take a speed awareness course and avoid points , as long as you haven’t been on such a course within the previous three years. If you opt to pay the fine, the points stay on your driving record for between four and 11 years. The maximum penalty for speeding is six points on your
driving licence or being disqualified from driving for up to 56 days, plus a fine of £1000, or £2500 if the offence was committed on a motorway.
At what speed can a speed camera not catch you?
Many police forces have confirmed that they allow a tolerance of 10% plus 2mph. So , a speed of 35mph in a 30mph zone would be tolerated, and 79mph in a 70mph zone. It’s worth noting that some police fo rces have zero tolerance for speeding , though.

Do all speed cameras have to be painted yellow?
In 2016, the Government issued guidelines stating that speed cameras should be painted yellow or be mounted in yellow casings , so that drivers can more easily see them and don’t feel unfairly penalised. Howeve r, local authorities aren’t obliged to comply.
Cameras for monitoring bus lanes , traffic lights , yellow box junctions , parking infringements and tolled areas – such as the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ),
London Congestion Charge zone and the Dartford Crossing – are finished in grey.

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Limiting the number of times a test can be swapped online

Limiting the number of times a test can be swapped online
We published a blog about the work we were doing to tackle this from DVSA CEO, Loveday Ryder back in June 2023.
Since this we’ve continued work behind the scenes to find way to disrupt the systems used to access the test bookings. We will be publishing a blog post in the future to explain more about this work. One thing we have been looking in to doing is making it more difficult for people to misuse the booking system.
Changes to swaps online
We know that the majority of approved driving instructors (ADIs) swap tests responsibly to ensure that their learners are only put forward for their test when they are ready. However, we can see from our data that some businesses are swapping tests at a very high rate and outside normal parameters (based on feedback from our recent booking behaviour ADI survey).
To ensure a level playing field for all customers we will, from today (25 April), start to limit the number of times a driving licence number can be used to swap a practical car test online. This will just be for car tests and will not affect motorcycle, theory or vocational tests.
Once a driving licence number has reached this limit for the number of swaps, it can only be swapped again by calling our customer service centre. A message will appear on the booking system if the limit is reached.
Setting the limit
Confirming what the limit is set at would allow those people who are misusing the system to work around this change, so we are not planning on confirming what it is set at.
We will keep the limit under review and may change it depending on the effects we see from it being introduced.
Since the waiting times for driving tests have been high, we’ve seen a rise in the use of automated bots being used on the driving test booking service. This can result in the reselling of appointments, often at inflated prices.