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Speed camera myths – are they true or false? Find out the truth behind the UK’s speed cameras and how the rules are enforced

We’ve all heard the rumours about how you can beat the dreaded speed camera and subsequent fine – but how many of them are actually true? Simply read our speeding ticket mythbuster to find out the truth here.

Remember, the best way to beat the speed camera is drive within the limit.

Find out the truth about speed cameras and tickets here

Some speed cameras are not switched on: True

Using speed cameras costs money! Everything from keeping them maintained to collecting and processing data from them can be hugely expensive. Many fixed sites – where drivers know about them – have been switched off in favour of more profitable mobile speed traps.

Research from found that up to a quarter of speed cameras were not in use during 2015 – meaning the current figure could be even larger as cops concentrate on mobile speed traps to boost earnings.

You must be notified about a speeding ticket within a certain time: True

If you suspect you’ve been caught speeding you’ll have just two weeks of worrying to get through before you find out. Authorities must send a Notice of Intended Prosecution to the vehicle’s registered keeper within this period. If it arrives later than this period, there’s a good chance you’d be able to successfully have it thrown out on appeal.

However, if you were flashed while driving a hire car or company car, for example, it’s likely to take longer as the Notice of Intended Prosecution will go to the vehicle’s registered keeper and not you. This will add time, but provided it reached the keeper in time, you will still be liable to pay.

The blue cameras on bridges and poles can give out tickets: False

You’ll see these cameras all over the UK, but they won’t be giving you any speeding tickets. These are owned by a firm called Trafficmaster and monitor traffic flow across the UK.

I won’t get a ticket unless I’m driving the limit  +10% + 2mph: Mostly true

This is not ingrained in law, legally you can be given a ticket for driving 1mph over the limit. However, the 10 per cent + 2mph ‘rule’ is a guideline on speed enforcement issued by the Association of Chief Police officers. ACPO offers these guidelines to when a driver should be prosecuted. Remember, though, they are just that – ‘guidelines’.

Ticket or summons? Here’s how you’re likely to be treated when caught speeding.

Limit Speed awareness: From – To Summons in all other cases and above
20 mph 24 mph 31 mph 35 mph
30 mph 35 mph 42 mph 50 mph
40 mph 46 mph 53 mph 66 mph
50 mph 57 mph 64 mph 76 mph
60 mph 68 mph 75 mph 86 mph
70 mph 79 mph 86 mph 96 mph

Will I get a speeding ticket… what happens after the motorway or A-road flash

Local residents in Speed Watch groups can issue tickets: False-ish

You’ll recognise these groups of residents in high-vis jackets pointing speed cameras at you as you drive down leafy residential streets. They can take your details but they can’t issue tickets or penalty points. However, they will report you to cops who’ll send an ‘advisory’ letter. Persistent reports or driving at excessive speed could lead to more serious police action. Find out all here about what Speed Watch groups can and can’t do.

See what the community speed watch volunteers can and can’t do: West Midlands Police

I can demand photographic evidence to prove my car was not flashed: True

If you deny the offence and go to court, the police should be forced to release the photographic evidence they have against your vehicle, or the one you were alleged to be driving. This could be useful in cases such as cars being cloned. However, if found guilty, court punishment will be heavier than the fixed penalty ticket.

I can ask for a speed awareness course instead of points: False

Nice idea, but this is not up to you. If you’re eligible for one of the speed awareness courses, it’s the police who’ll let you know. Don’t expect the call if you’ve been caught driving excessively fast or are a repeat offender.

I don’t have to tell my insurance company about a speeding ticket straight away: False

Many drivers think they don’t have to inform their insurance company about a speeding offence until they apply for a new policy, or renew the existing one. Sorry, but this is wrong and you’ll need to come clean and inform your insurer immediately after you’ve received your points. Failure to do so could leave you with no insurance cover.

I don’t have to tell my insurer about a speeding awareness course: Half true

As you only have to tell your insurer about convictions, you won’t need to immediately phone them up and declare that you’ve attended a speed awareness course. However, when you come to renew, many firms will ask the specific question and not mentioning the fact could leave you with a refusal to pay out on claims at a later date.

If I overpay by £1 I will not receive any penalty points on my licence: False

This comes from a rumour that if you overpay your fine by £1, the court system will issue a refund cheque, which, if you don’t cash, will leave the financial transaction incomplete – the myth being that penalty points can only be issued when it is! In fact, doing this could end up with additional costs – and the original points, of course.

The best way to beat the speed camera is to stay within the limit

Can community speed watch volunteers really give drivers a speeding ticket? Find out here

Slowing down for speed cameras then speeding up will avoid a ticket: False

This is the case with old-style fixed-position cameras, but the ‘average speed’ cameras found on many roads now measure – as the name suggest – your average speed between various points. These cameras can help ensure smoother, safer driving.

If I drive really fast the camera won’t have time to record my plate: False

According to research, you’d need to be driving at around one fifth of the speed of light to beat a modern speed camera – unlikely in your average Mondeo.

I’ve been told average speed cameras don’t work, so can be ignored: False

There used to be a time when these cameras could be fooled by swapping lanes. However, new technology has long-since obliterated that loophole.

Speed cameras need to be painted yellow to make them legal: False

From October 2016, all speed cameras on motorways and A-roads were painted yellow. That said, some on smaller rural roads may still be an attractive (and hard to see) grey – and any offence they record will be valid.

Cyclists can get speeding tickets: False… but…

Speeding is an offence designed to improve safety on our roads, so it would seem fair that a speeding cyclist should get a fine. However, speed limits are only applicable to ‘motor or mechanically propelled vehicles’. That is unless you’re speeding on a bike in one of the UK’s Royal parks, which have their own bylaws. A 16-year-old teenager was fined a total of £100 for cycling at 37mph in Richmond Park. Electric bikes are supposed to have a top speed of 15.5mph so would be exempt from speeding rules.

Speed cameras are just there to make money – False

This is not the case, apparently… What are your thoughts?

New speeding fines and laws get all the information here