Speed camera myths you need to know – as drivers risk £2,500 fine for believing them

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DRIVERS could face fines of up to £2,500 and even a ban from the roads by falling for so-called speed camera loopholes.

Here are the most common speed camera myths to avoid.

Speed cameras first hit the UK's roads in 1991 and there are now more than 7,000 across the network.

They aim to manage traffic and avoid accidents.

Drivers can be fined a minimum of £100 if caught speeding by a camera and will get three points on their licence.

The fine and points penalty could be higher depending on how fast you were driving.

The police may offer a speed awareness course instead of giving you a fixed penalty notice and points on your licence but this will depend on how fast you were driving and if you have been on one in the past three years.

You could be disqualified from driving if you build up 12 points over three years.

There is an option to go to court if you don't accept your fixed penalty notice.

But if you are still found guilty the fine can be up to £1,000 or £2,500 if you were speeding on the motorway.

Research by car leasing comparison website LeaseLoco claims the north west of England has more speed cameras on its road than any other region at 657.

This compares with 137 in the north east and 639 in the south east.

A freedom of information request to police forces revealed in 2017 that only half of fixed location speed cameras are actually turned.

Experts warn that drivers shouldn't be tempted to take their chances, and there are plenty of other traps you can fall into based on misconceptions about how speed camera works.

Here are some of the common camera myths and how to avoid getting into a speed trap.

Myth: The 10% speeding allowance

Many speeding drivers rely on an unwritten rule that you have to be over the limit by at least 10% plus 2mph to get caught.

John Wilmot, chief executive of LeaseLoco, warns that this isn't entirely accurate.

He said: "The law states that you can receive a speeding ticket as soon as you exceed the speed limit on a road, even if it’s only 1mph above.

“However, official police guidance suggests that traffic officers won’t seek prosecution of a driver until they have exceeded the speed limit by 10%, plus 2mph. 

“But drivers need to be aware this guidance is at the discretion of officers, and it’s not an invitation to break the speed limit legally.”

Myth: Speed cameras only catch you if they flash

Speeding drivers may think they have escaped getting caught if a camera didn't flash as they passed it.

They may think the camera has run out of film.

But experts at car leasing company Vanarama warn that not all speed cameras flash.

Some speed cameras flash and other speed cameras don’t – so it can sometimes be difficult to tell if you’ve been caught speeding. There are two types of speed cameras in the UK, fixed and mobile.

The most common fixed speed cameras are called Gatso and Truvelo.

Gatso speed cameras flash to take a photo of your rear number plate, while Truvelo speed cameras don’t flash.

There are also mobile speed cameras that use lasers to track the speed of your car, so won’t flash.

Myth: Everyone is offered a speed awareness course

Many people believe that they can request a speed awareness course instead of accepting three points and a fine.

Vanarama highlights that drivers are only eligible for a speed awareness course if they admit to speeding, haven't attended a course within the past three years and if the offence was within 10% of the speed limit plus 9mph.

But it is up to the police if they offer this.

There is also a fee for the course, which varies across the country but is around £100.

Myth: All speed cameras are yellow

The government did announce in 2015 that it planned to paint all speed cameras yellow.

This would help drivers slow down sooner.

But not all will have been updated and mobile speed cameras are unlikely to be brightly coloured.

The AA warns that just because you can't see a camera, that doesn't necessarily make a fine invalid.

Myth: Changing lanes can avoid average speed cameras

Average speed cameras, or SPECS, work by recording your speed at two different points on a motorway or dual carriageway.

There is a misconception that changing lanes can mess up these calculations.

The AA said: "This is wrong. While older speed cameras could’ve been ‘tricked’, more advanced cameras now use multiple sets of cameras at each point to track all the lanes and compare average speeds.

"But either way, you shouldn't be trying to avoid getting caught. It's safer for everyone to stick to the limits – and the law – by not speeding in the first place."

Myth: You can only be caught speeding from behind

The original Gatso cameras could only snap vehicles once they passed a speed camera.

But The AA warns that the newer Truvelo models can now catch speeding drivers from the front and back, which means slowing down quickly before passing a speed camera may not always help avoid a fine.

A driver was recently captured stopping on a busy M1 motorway so a child could go to the toilet.

Earlier this month, we revealed you can be fined £1,000 and even lose your licence for disobeying motorway traffic officers who aren't police.

 

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