UK Driving & Speed Camera Use

Driving and the Speed Camera

Those drivers of an age before the advent of the speed camera may sometimes look back and think, “did we drive like unfettered lunatics everywhere we went?” imitating Stirling Moss, Ayrton Senna, or whoever was the racing driver hero of the time?

Of course not, the police had the occasional sortie with hand-held radar guns at perceived traffic “black spots” but increasing traffic densities, increasing HGV tonnages, many town by-passes constructed with in-built no overtaking with constant curves and no straights, all added to gradual voluntary speed restraints.

Then came the fixed roadside camera, which has been with us that long, there is a sort of dull acceptance of inevitability that they will be part of motoring everyday roadside articles like signposts.

Now, however, a new phenomenon has arrived, the “smart motorway”. Perhaps unsurprising in these days of the anticipated “internet of everything”, a smart motorway can take over traffic management all on its own, and, computer driven, provide the very best for traffic flow and journey times etc.

This seems rather like expecting roses around the garage doors, and blue birds guiding us home, or are smart motorways part of a creeping big brother state of electronic eyes and sensors controlling our every driving moment?

The current speed limits on motorways, which, apart from road work areas are 70mph. This figure has been in force since 1965, and with a nod perhaps to the capabilities of modern vehicles, the general police rule of thumb is to allow 10% over the stated limit, plus 2mph, thus on a motorway the quietly accepted figure is “between 70 and 80 mph”.

Similarly, in a limit of 40mph, 42 or 43 mph is more likely to be a moment’s inattention rather deliberate transgression, and would be treated as such.

It’s never been easier to slip inadvertently over the speed limit and only takes a moment’s lapse in concentration. The penalty though stays with you for 3 years, so ask a free no obligation question about your speeding offence and find out the best way to defend yourself from the allegation.

Of course, the roadside camera has removed a level of judgemental and circumstantial exceptions to being over the limit, but now, enter a whole new experience, the smart motorway.

The new stretches of motorway, sport gantries across the carriageways giving lane opening and closing instructions, and altering the speed limit as it reads the traffic densities.

These are displayed on the gantries, and below them, in the road, sensors read the speed of every vehicle in every lane. Every lane is covered, also on the gantry, by a grey state of the art HADECS3 camera, (Highways Agency Enforcement Camera System3).

As the variable speed limits flick from say, 60 to 50mph, the camera follows its computer driven instruction and it is possible that you will “clicked” at one mph over the limit.

A boon towards greater traffic movement and safety, or an Orwellian cash extractor from the hapless motorist. The only thing you can do about it, is nothing but obey every speed limit, to the dot.