From average speed observation to automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), there is many motorway cameras with various functions used across the UK.
Here is a rundown of the various cameras on our motorways, how they operate, & whether they can land you with a speeding fine.
HADECS 3 is short for Highways Agency Digital Enforcement Camera System 3. These are used on motorways to dictate variable speeds limits. Mounted on poles at the side of the motorway, they are painted grey & sometimes have yellow markings.
The HADECS 3 has an effective dual radar system for all weather types & can process speeding penalties quickly. Alongside being difficult to spot, the HADECS 3 has earned the name ‘stealth speed camera’ as a result.
SPECS cameras – also known as average speed cameras – are usually found through motorway roadworks; bidirectional roads or dual carriageways respectively. Both the camera & the pole they’re planted on are yellow, with an ‘M’ symbol mounted on the arm of the pole.
Equipped with ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Reading) technology & infra-red illuminators, they can work in all conditions, 24 hours a day.
There are no set locations where mobile cameras are used; their usage is dependent upon areas where speeding is a problem.
They consist of a police car or van, parked on a bridge over a motorway, with a radar/laser gun & video speed monitoring technology. Through these, officers will be able to detect speeding motorists.
Prosecutions can occur on the spot or through the post.
These are grey or white CCTV cameras used to monitor traffic, overlooked by Highways England.
By being alerted to any incident or congestion, emergency services can be sent out if required – whilst local & online media can issue warnings.
ANPR cameras are operated by both the police & Highways England.
They automatically read every vehicle number plate passing them, checking them against a database of records for vehicles of interest; for example, vehicles linked to robberies or drug use.
ANPR cameras also alert officers to vehicles on the road which have no MOT, tax or insurance.
Highways England ANPR Cameras
Highways England uses 1,100 of these bright green cameras across the UK’s motorway & trunk road network to monitor traffic flow & provide estimated journey times across the network.
The information is passed onto the National Traffic Operations Centre in five-minute intervals. The data is not passed on to the police, & it’s impossible to identify specific vehicles.
Traffic Master (Traffic Monitoring) Cameras
These cameras are used simply to observe traffic. The information processed will be used for radio traffic alert bulletins, received by pressing the ‘TA’ or ‘TP’ button on your car stereo, or by in-car satellite-navigation systems.
Legacy Cameras – GATSO
The GATSO is the most common type of speed camera, despite many of them having been replaced by HADECS 3 technology (see above). These are the bright yellow cameras commonly found at the side of UK roads in the UK, as well as on the overhead gantries of motorways.
The National Police Chiefs Council recommends the minimum speed for prosecution is 10 per cent plus 2mph over the limit; however, because this is not part of any official legislation, officers may vary on their decisions to penalise.