Speed cameras are now an everyday sight on Britains roads, most people know or know of, someone who has been caught by one and as such received either points and a fine or had to attend a speed awareness course.
Here at Driver Training Ltd we try and help you understand what is required by these cameras and how it affects you and your driving licence, regardless of whether you are a learner driver or have been driving for many years.
What are safety cameras?
Safety cameras include mobile and fixed speed cameras and are used to detect the speed vehicles are travelling at. Red light traffic cameras are used to detect if vehicles "jump" or go through traffic lights when they are still on red.
How do speed cameras' work?
All fixed speed control safety cameras are designed to measure the speed of approaching vehicles, or departing vehicles, or both, depending upon the type of camera.
They are calibrated so that vehicles travelling within the speed limit are invisible. Only vehicles travelling above the limit are seen and photographed by the camera.
Gatso cameras are activated as the vehicle crosses a radar beam and takes two photographs half a second apart, whilst Truvelo cameras are activated as the vehicle travels over sensors in the roads. On-board computers instantly calculate the distance travelled between the two points.
It's basic maths - distance travelled over time = speed.
The white line markings on the road surface provide a secondary back-up check, verified by an operative who examines the film taken by the camera.
Every camera is checked to ensure it is properly calibrated and working every single time it is placed inside its yellow housing. Twenty-four hours or so later, when the camera and film are removed, the camera is checked again to ensure that it has been working properly.
In addition, the camera conducts a self-test every time it takes a photograph. Furthermore, every single photograph is subsequently checked 'by eye' by an operative.
The calibration and checking regime is rigorous in the extreme to ensure that no innocent motorists are accidentally caught by the cameras. In other words, the cameras are only capable of catching speeding motorists. So, if they catch you, you have been speeding
Mobile Speed Cameras
The mobile safety camera units operate across the uk using a range of different equipment. mobile Gatso cameras, which are bright orange in colour and are mounted on a tripod on the side of the road. The Partnership also uses highly sophisticated and accurate laser technology which is housed in the mobile vans or from a specially adapted motorbike..
The equipment is so accurate it can take a reading from just the wing mirror or number plate of a targeted moving vehicle, meaning that innocent motorists need not fear triggering the beam by mistake. By the same token, speeding motorists will not be able to claim that the beam was affected by another vehicle just in front, just behind or just at the side of them.
The cameras operate effectively in poor light conditions, including night-time and also in rain and snow without the beam being refracted by water drops.
This ability will enable the roadside patrols to be available to assist motorists more often and for longer during winter months when road conditions are generally more hazardous, road surfaces are often slippery and driving at a safe and appropriate speed becomes even more important.
The equipment is calibrated daily, before and after each time it's switched on, and it self-tests every time it takes a picture. In-built anti-tampering security measures prevent camera settings being altered by the officers (or anyone else).
Red Traffic Light Cameras
Red traffic light safety cameras monitor the junction at which they are located twenty-four hours a day. Vehicles that cross the Stop line break a magnetic field that causes a photograph to be taken of the offence. It does not record the vehicle speed but does record the make, model and registration details which can be used to trace the owner and issue a Fixed Penalty Notice. These cameras are also activated by vehicles that exceed the speed limit whilst the light is on green
As a driver of a vehicle it is your legal duty to ensure that you obey the rules of the road, you must hold a valid drivers licence and have adequate insurance. It is your duty to ensure your details are up to date with Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). If you have recently moved or lost your licence you will need to inform DVLA. Application forms can be obtained from your local post office.
It is also your duty to ensure that you have adequate insurance at all times especially if you drive another persons vehicle. It is also your duty to inform your insurance company of any points you may have on your licence, as this could invalidate your insurance cover.
If you are the registered owner/ keeper of the car it is your legal duty to ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy, adequate insured and tax and your details are up to date with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
It is also your duty to ensure any one who you allow to drive your vehicle is adequately insured and holds a valid drivers licence.
It is also your legal duty to inform DVLA if you sell, transfer, scrap or export your vehicle. If you don’t you will continue to be liable for taxing it and will receive all correspondence relating to this and any other offences committed with the vehicle. Which means you will be liable for any speeding offences committed by the new owner or the person you have allowed to drive your car.
If you've just passed your driving test - congratulations!
But research shows that newly qualified drivers are a particular vulnerable group. Whilst newly qualified drivers only make up about 7% of the driving population they have 21% of the injury collisions.
One in five newly qualified drivers have a crash within a year. However, the accident liability is reduced by nearly half after two years of driving experience.
Remember newly qualified drivers are still on "probation" for a period of two years but if you clock up six points or more during this period you will lose your licence and revert to learner status again.
Drivers have to retake both the theory and practical parts of the test.
The main penalty point offences are...
- Speeding: 3-6 points
- Going through a red light: 3 points
- Careless driving: 3-9 points
- Driving without insurance: 6-8 points
- Failing to stop after an accident: 5-10 points
If you run six or more penalty points, you'll get a letter telling you your licence is no longer valid. You should inform your insurance company immediately.You will have to apply for a new provisional licence to continue driving as a learner.
Facts and stats
- One in three road accidents involves men under the age of 20
- Young male drivers - despite passing the driving test more easily than females - are involved in a higher number of accidents
- If involved in an accident, a male driver aged 17-20 years is nine times more likely to be at fault than a driver aged 31-40 years with the same length of driving experience
- More women aged 17-19 years die as passengers than as drivers
- Young drivers are twice as likely to die in a road crash when carrying passengers of their own age
- One young passenger makes an accident twice as likely, two or more makes it five times as likely
- Newly qualified drivers admit that their driving is adversely affected by the presence of their peers - and conversely improves when they are accompanied by their parents or other mature adults