Most drivers, at some stage, will worry if the camera they
just spotted has done them for speeding.
But not all cameras are the same and many of them do not and
cannot penalise drivers for speeding.
According to data from more than 40 British police forces,
just over 50% of fixed speed cameras are actively used to manage speeding, with
the majority of others there to track down criminals, manage traffic or simply
collect data for public bodies.
Take a look here at the different type of cameras and what
they’re used for.
Fixed Speed Cameras
We’ll start with the easy one. The fixed speed camera is almost
always bright yellow or orange and has been with us since 1992. These are
normally found in built up areas and on carriageways and are there to purely
manage speed limits.
They are almost always rear facing so will largely only ever
catch you when travelling away from one. Go over the allotted speed limit and
no doubt you’ll be getting a letter in the post with either a fine or an
invitation to a speed awareness course.
Average speed cameras
These usually yellow cameras are becoming increasingly
common on smart motorways across the country and can be used to manage average speed
over a large distance.
We all would’ve seen them in areas where roadworks are
Contrary to common belief, these cameras will still work if
you change lanes. Unlike fixed speed cameras, average cameras are usually
Highways agency cameras
Highways Agency cameras are small, grey, CCTV cameras that
are found all over the country, but they aren’t there to catch out dangerous
They’re used to monitor traffic flow, assess accidents or incidents
and are monitored 24/7 in control rooms across the UK.
They aren’t equipped with speed radars or number plate
recognition systems and are most commonly found on motorways and major A-roads.
Bus lane cameras
Smaller, more discreet cameras, these are there to catch
motorists driving in designated bus lanes, usually found in town and city
They are accompanied by signs warning of the use of bus lane
cameras and, usually, come with a fine of between £60 and £90.
Police Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras are used,
as the names suggests, to track plates and help combat crime.
At a glance, they look similar to portable road traffic cameras
but the clue is in the title.
They collect car registration data to track down offenders
involved with local crime, organised crime or potential even terror-related
They can also alert officers if a car is without an MOT, tax
or insurance on a public road.
Police mobile cameras
Like the ANPR cameras, the mobile cameras are used from the
rear of a van and are forward facing. They’re used to purely to catch speeding
They can appear at any location police deem fit and operate
24-hours a day.
Highways Agency ANPR
These green cameras don’t look too dissimilar from average
speed cameras and are often found mounted to motorway signage, like their yellow
They’re fitted by the Highways Agency and aren’t used to issue
speeding fines, but instead to monitor traffic levels and journey times.
While the cameras do use a vehicle’s registration to gather
data, number plate readings aren’t stored, and no images of cars or drivers are
Traffic light cameras
Traffic light cameras catch motorists who run red lights.
They can be attached directly to the lights themselves or operate as a standalone alongside traffic signals and detect cars
that pass over the advanced stop lines while the lights are red.
If you are caught, the camera will usually flash as it takes
a photo of your car, and you will receive a £100 fine. You may also start
seeing ‘speed on green’ cameras that are being introduced to catch motorists
who desperately try to make it through the lights. Keep your eyes peeled for