Speed cameras in the United Kingdom

Since the introduction of speed cameras in the early 1990’s in the United Kingdom they have now become a permanent fixture on the roads, highways and motorways.

They however, represent an issue which splits much opinion.

What is the reason for speed cameras in the United Kingdom?

The reason for the existence of speed cameras in the United Kingdom is to reduce the problem of motorists travelling over the speed limit. If motorists continually travel over the speed limit then this will increase the potential of motoring accidents which in turn will increase the potential of individuals coming into serious injury or death following these accidents.

When an individual is caught speeding by a speed camera they will not only gain points on their driving licence they will also be handed down a fine.

If an individual is caught speeding how many penalty points will be handed down?

Generally speaking if an individual is found to have been speeding they will be given three penalty points on their licence and a £60 fine.

In certain situations, however, an individual can be given an automatic ban.

How many points on a driving licence will result in a ban?

If an individual receives 12 penalty points on their licence in a three year period then they will have their licence revoked for a period of 6 months. 

This represents an individual who is deemed dangerous or unsafe to drive.

Speed cameras are seen as a valuable tool to therefore improve road safety.

What is the position against the use of speed cameras in the United Kingdom?

Many people feel that the fact that when an individual is going over a certain speed limit they will not only receive points on their licence but they will also be given a monetary fine shows that the use of speed cameras is not to protect the safety of other road users it is simply a means of the UK Government making money.

Is the use of speed cameras in the United Kingdom legal?

Speed cameras have come under a number of different legal challenges such as the evidence from speed cameras being gathered illegally due to the fact when they were originally brought in they were never given the necessary parliamentary approval.

However, as the position currently stands under the laws of England and Wales the use of speed cameras is deemed to be legal.

Are there any legalities involved with devices which can detect where speed cameras are located?

Certain Global Positioning System (GPS) technology come equipped with the possibility to warn drivers of published camera sites or posted limits.

These are deemed legal under the Road Safety Act 2006 as these are deemed to complement the Government’s policy to ensure that camera sites are visible and conspicuous to drivers. This effectively means that GPSs working in this way is a good thing as alongside the existence of speed cameras they help deter excessive and inappropriate speeds on the roads.

Are all detection devices legal under the Road Safety Act?

The provisions in the Road Safety Act mean it is possible for the government to prohibit a vehicle being fitted with or a person using a vehicle carrying speed assessment equipment detection devices. This is possible under the Construction and Use Regulations (SI 1986/1078).

What is the reason for this?

The reason for this is that certain active detectors enable drivers to ignore speed cameras that are inactive at the time. This means that if the cameras are inactive and this is known to the driver there is no reason for them to reduce their speed.

Whereas the GPS service does not say whether or not it the speed camera is active meaning that they will slow down simply in the knowledge that a camera is there.

Are these illegal?

It is currently a legal grey area as to whether the use of these is illegal. However, if an individual were to wish to get one of these installed then it would be advisable to seek legal advice to ensure that what they are installing in their car is within the limits of the law.

What is the position in relation to radar and laser jammers?

The use of a device which stops a speed camera from performing its functions such as a radar and laser jammer is illegal under the Road Safety Act 2006.

Even if this act were not in place the police would be able to prosecute an individual on the grounds of obstruction and perversion of the course of justice.

The use of equipment in this manner is deemed a serious offence which could even lead to a custodial sentence.

Speed cameras and pressure groups

There are certain pressure groups operating in the United Kingdom which continue to campaign against the continued use of speed cameras in Britain. Much of the work by these groups centres on campaign such as the destruction of certain speed cameras.

Although many of the groups state their intention not to destroy cameras in and around schools and built up areas the destruction of any cameras represents vandalism and criminal damage. If an individual were found guilty of willfully destroying a speed camera then they would be criminally liable for criminal damage.