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Average Speed Camera Questions and Answers

Vector Average Speed CameraBelow are a series of questions we've received from UK motorists relating to average speed cameras. The answers and/or replies to the questions appear beneath each question.

To ask your own question relating to average speed cameras in the UK please use the online form below.

Learn more about average speed check cameras or read more information about SPECS average speed cameras or VECTOR average speed cameras - the current two different types of UK average speed check cameras.If you have a comment you'd like to make about average speed cameras you can complete the average speed camera comment form.

Please note: SpeedCamerasUK.com does not operate any UK speed cameras, we have no connection to UK Government, Police, etc. We are therefore unable to advise you if have been caught speeding, or the progress of a speeding offence.

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Question: Can you be charged for doing 45mph in a 40mph zone on average speed cameras?

Answer: Yes, you can. It all depends upon what the police deem as their threshold to generate a speeding conviction.

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Question: Do average speed cameras make allowance for stopping at traffic lights in between cameras? If not, this is obviously going to bring down your average speed?

Answer: Average speed cameras cannot take into account traffic lights and the stopping time at them between camera locations.

It's worth noting that not all average speed cameras are paired together. I do not know, but it could be that two subsequent average speed cameras after the traffic lights are paired together to record speeding vehicles. Certainly cameras immediately either side of the traffic lights are unlikely to be paired as it would only catch speeding motorists who drive through the traffic lights while the lights are on green.

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Question: I was travelling on the A19 this evening after heavy snowfall in north east England. Only after I passed through two average speed cameras I noticed I was heading in the opposite direction of where I needed to be. The speed limit signs were covered in snow, so couldn't make out what the speed limit was and it was to dangerous to slow down. Could I contest against a speeding fine if I receive one?

Answer: We do not offer legal advice. Can I suggest you contact a motoring lawyer for help in answering your question. You could also contact the police force where the camera is located and ask for their opinion?

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Question: What is the leeway on average speed camrames then?

Answer: The leeway is set by the installer, based on a threshold provided by the local police authority. This leeway by a few miles per hour, will vary from police force to police force. It is ONLY known by the camera installer and small number of police personnel.

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Question: If you only pass one average speed camera can you still be prosecuted or must there be a reading from two cameras to establish the average speed?

Answer: You need to pass at least two average speed cameras for your vehicle 'average' speed to be recorded. In addition, both of the cameras you pass needed to be paired together.

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Question: Do average speed cameras have to warn you of average camera before you reach the first camera? And if so, does the warning have to be an average warning sign?

Answer: Yes, there should be speed camera warning signs located at the side of the road ahead of any approaching speed camera. No it does not by law have to be an average speed camera warning sign. Only a speed camera symbol warning of speed cameras (fixed or mobile) in the road ahead.

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Question: Do average speed cameras have a similar threshold to static cameras? I.e. 10% +2 over the limit results in a fine or are they fixed at the road speed limit?

Answer: Average speed cameras, just like static cameras themselves don't, It is the police that will decide at which speed to issue speeding tickets. E.g. only issuing speeding tickets to motorists driving at or above 34mph in a 30mph zone. The cameras, be them average or fixed point will simply record the offence.

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Question: If you drive through a section with several SPECS or Vector cameras, and you feel you may have been over the posted limit between 2 cameras, can you then go slower between the next 2, or another 2 cameras in the same stretch of limited section to bring your “overall” average speed down, or does it depend on how the cameras are paired which is something you will never know?

Answer: It all depends which SPECS or VECTOR average speed cameras are paired together. If it’s the first and second camera and you slow down to the speed limit between the second and third, then you will face a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) in the post for driving over the speed limit.

You are right to say “does it depend on how the cameras are paired which is something you will never know”. Yes only the camera installer and a select few police officers will know which SPECS or VECTOR average speed cameras are paired together.

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Question: Can average speed cameras accurately predict a vehicles speed if the road and hence white road markers are covered in snow? I have received a speeding ticket for a journey I regularly take to work through Stewartby in Bedfordshire on a morning when the road was snow covered. I clearly ordinarily do not speed through this area and am perplexed as to why I would have on a morning when road conditions dictated that I would have been driving more slowly than normal. If the white road markers are obscured by snow does this make the data unreliable. Will the photo be able to show the condition of the road and hence if the white markers are obscured.

Answer: Unlike other fixed speed camera e.g. Gatso, average speed cameras do not rely on any markings on the roads surface. Instead average speed camera take a photo at each average speed camera location and the time/distance between camera sites is used and calculated to provide your vehicles “average” speed. Average speed camera operate 24/7 and in all weather conditions, except in exceptionally poor weather e.g. dense fog or heavy falling snow when the camera will not be able to successfully photograph your vehicle and vehicle’s number plate from the elevated position of the SPECS or VECTOR camera on the road side pole.

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Question: I have a couple of general questions that have been 'doing the rounds' at my local bike club.
We understand how the average cameras work in a minimum of pairs etc. and indeed should you exceed the posted limit on average you may receive a penalty. Thus my questions are:

Answer: 1) A motorbike can be ridden safely and accelerate more rapidly then the average road user, thus if you left a 30MPH zone at which point there was an average camera, accelerated but DID NOT break the posted 60MPH limit how would the camera make an allowance for this. I.E Is the average time to travel the distance measured from point to point as if you are travelling at 60MPH the entire distance or based on the average acceleration of most vehicles?

2) On the A9 in Scotland would it be possible to pair the first and last cameras over the circa 100 mile distance? If so how again would they make allowances for the 70MPH, acceleration capabilities etc?

In answer to your questions:

1.  Average speed cameras are measured by the time it takes to drive or in your case ride between speed camera sites. In other words the time it would take to drive/ride at 60mph between the paired average speed cameras. You could for the first camera or immediately after exceed the road speed limit e.g. drive/ride at 70mph and then reduce down to 50mph before reaching the next average speed camera in the sequence. This would thus provide a lower average speed. Our advice would be to drive/ride at or below the posted road speed limit at all times. 

2. In theory yes this would be possible. Whether this is a reality? Only Police Scotland know which average speed cameras are paired together. It would be calculated on the time it would take to safely and legally drive the 100 miles. French Gendarmerie (Police) use a similar system on the toll motorways in France. You collect a ticket when entering the tolled motorway (which is date/time stamped) and then when exiting the motoring (again the date/time is recorded) drive too fast between tolls/roads and you can end up with a speeding ticket. Again in theory average speed cameras in the UK could be linked across the UK. If your drove/rode too quickly from one side of the country to the other, the evidence would be there to prosecute. That will probably/possibly come in the future. Big brother is watching!

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Question: I travel to work along a single carriageway country road that is limited to 50mph, and controlled by Average Speed Limit cameras. However, I constantly come across drivers travelling at 40mph. Naturally, I would want to overtake these vehicles when it is safe to do so. In order to minimise the period of exposure driving on the wrong side of the road, it is safer to pass the slow moving vehicle as quickly, or should I say expeditiously as possible. This will often result in driving over the posted speed limit for s short period. I would like to know how this would affect the average speed calculation. These slow moving drivers are more of a hazard than they realise!

Answer: Average speed cameras measure your vehicles speed between camera locations. These may not always be in consecutive order, e.g. the paired average speed cameras may not be the 1st and 2nd, but the 1st and 3rd camera, etc.

When driving through and between average speed cameras you must ensure that your vehicles “average” speed does not exceed the road speed limit.

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Question: I understand that AVERAGE SPEED cameras are being installed along a stretch of road (approx. 400m) near my home which has a 30mph speed limit. Is this realistic given the speed limit and the distance between cameras? Furthermore, as a percentage, 1 or 2 mph has almost twice the impact in a 30mph zone as it does in a 50mph zone and therefore much harder to control. Just one final point, driving in average speed camera zones can sometimes rely on quick thinking maths because cars are NOT fitted with 'average speed' speedometers.

Answer: The key thing when driving through an average speed check zone is to drive at or below the sign posted road speed limit e.g. 30mph.

30mph and even 20mph speed limit speed check zones have successfully been deployed and utilised on many roads in the UK - Nottingham saw the first 30mph zone.

The speed trigger threshold e.g. 35mph is decided by the local police authority.

To help achieve the correct speed when driving through average speed camera zones or any UK road for that matter, the windscreen mounted Snooper MY-SPEED XL (pictured right) includes road speed limits for UK and Western European roads. When you are driving at or below the posted road speed limit the screen is green, when you are driving above the road speed limit the screen turns red.

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Question: If you pass the first average speed camera at 70mph (instead of the required 50mph) but you do not pass any further cameras on your journey (e.g. you have come off the motorway). Would you receive a NIP because you passed the only average camera at speed?

Answer: Average speed cameras work in pairs. If you only pass one camera location and not a second, then your average speed cannot be calculated.

Most, if not all motorway exits and entrances will be covered by average speed check cameras.

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Question: Do average speed cameras still take every licence plate as you pass under each of them regardless if you are driving at, or even below the speed limit?

My friend says he has been told by a 'mate in the know' that the cameras do not record your number as you pass under the Gantries for example if you keep BELOW the set speed limit as you pass under the gantry so you are not recorded at all then you can then speed up and race 70mph / 80mph + between the cameras because you are not being recorded i.e invisible. He claims he has does this regularly and never received a ticket!!

I think he is wrong. I thought every every vehicle is recorded at the point of entry and exit of the camera target zone regardless of what speed you are doing.

Answer: It depends upon the cameras that are in position and in use.

For example M25 Gatso gantry speed cameras only take a photo when you exceed a preset speed limit e.g. 78mph in a 70mph enforced zone.

However, ALL average speed cameras e.g. SPECS and VECTOR take photos at ALL camera locations.

So your friend might be correct, it will come down to the speed camera equipment that is installed.

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Question: I have just received an NIP from an average speed camera site on the A249 for an alleged offence of travelling at 80mph in a 70mph limit. I have two questions; Although the beginning of the zone is marked the end is not - is this legal? The existence of the zone is not marked on the safety camera website - again is this legal?

Answer: The police are required to display road signs on approach to a fixed or mobile speed camera location – warning that speed cameras are in use.

No sign is required to say end of speed camera controlled zone.

Websites are optional and not always updated as you have found.

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Question: Do average speed cameras still capture an image if you weren't speeding?

Answer: Yes, all average speed cameras capture a photo of every vehicle passing each camera point.

How long this data is stored for and how it is used will only been known by the camera installer and police.

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Question: Can an average speed camera catch you with a mobile? I wasn't speeding but phone rang as passed it to passenger just as I went under camera. Will it catch me?

Answer: It all comes down to and depends if the average speed camera captured a photo of the driver. Plus whether the photo taken is clear enough to see the driver on or using his mobile phone.

Many SPECS average speed cameras do capture who was driving at the time of the motoring/speeding offence. Whereas many VECTOR average speed cameras capture the rear of a vehicle.

If a photo was taken and it was clear, yes this could result in a prosecution, a fine and/or points.

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Question: Out of curiosity, I wanted to ask do average speed cameras also take images of the drivers face when giving a penalty?

Answer: Yes, the vast majority of average speed cameras photograph the driver of the vehicle.

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Question: Average speed cameras, detect number plate with use of ANPR. So if I'm travelling in my car at 70mph on a stretch of motorway all is good. Now if I'm towing a trailer I'm now reduced to 60mph. Do these cameras/operators see the difference or is it feesable to say that it is unable to detect whether I'm towing or not. Therefore anybody towing may quite easily get away with speeding.

Answer: Average speed cameras such as SPECS, capture a photo of the number plate and the vehicle itself. So yes, it is possible for the enforcing Police force to see what class of vehicle you are e.g. HGV and enforce the speed limit for that vehicle.

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Question: Average speed cameras. In a zone which is monitored by a series of average speed cameras (so you don't know if the one you have just passed is the "last one"!!) If you exceed the speed limit between each set of cameras ie you pass several cameras and your average speed is above the limit at each one, do you get multiple NIPs?

Answer: A single ‘connected’ series of average speed cameras would be treated as one enforced speed check zone.

We have heard stories from motorists receiving two separate speeding tickets for a single journey, but these have been from different camera systems operating miles apart.

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Question: I was driving through A316 with a 40mph speed limit and I passed the first speed camera average at 25mph and the second camera I was driving at 49mph. Am I likely to get a penalty for this?

Answer: Your question is impossible for us to answer, as it depends how quickly after the first average speed camera you increased your speed to 49mph. However, if your average speed was in excess of 40mph between the two camera points you could well receive a speeding fine and points.

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Question: I ride the A406 every work day and attempt to stay within the speed limit. Most people skim past me, in a car, van, lorry or coach at 5mph to 15mph faster than my SpeedLimit +10% maximum.

What do they know that I don't? They can't get tickets, unless the ticketing system is at gridlock and the tickets/fine haven't yet been issued.

Plus, the A406 and A40 used to be 60mph max. Then they dropped to 50mph, then 40mph. Then the cameras. OK, not my favourite "Safety System" but why not raise the limit back to 50mph or 60mph? It's "Safer" isn't it?

Answer: Many, many motorists are being caught out by average and variable speed cameras. So much so, that the government have paid for radio adverts to appear on commercial radio warning motorist to stay within the sped limit during variable speed limits!! Stick to the speed limit on any road to avoid points and penalties being accrued.

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Question: I joined the A13 at a 50mph average speed camera junction and mistakenly forgot about the limit and reached the National Speed Limit (NSL) of 70mph. Within seconds I spotted a 50mph sign and decreased my speed to 40mph. Shortly after that I passed the second camera after joining the junction (which seemed a very short distance).

I remained at 40/50mph for the remainder of the journey passing a further 2 cameras until the NSL sign was indicated.My question is; does my journey get recorded from junction to end? or from camera to camera even though the first and second were a very short distance apart - unlike the others??

Answer: Any sequence or pair of average speed cameras can be paired with any other. The pairing(s) are only known by the Police and camera installer.

If you have been caught speeding, a NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) is normally sent out to the vehicles registered keeper within 14 working days.

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Question: Let us say there is a continuous average speed limit of 50mph over a 10 mile stretch of road. So long as you don't pass the last camera less than 12 minutes after passing the first one your average speed has not exceeded 50mph. Imagine you pass the first camera at a steady 50mph and continue at that speed for 2 minutes when the traffic comes to a complete stop for 10 minutes. You could then drive at whatever speed you like once the traffic starts moving again without exceeding the average speed limit. The law may not like it, but that's law of mathematics!

Answer: That's correct if there are only two average speed cameras on the 10 mile stretch of roadwork's.

However, in reality there are often multiple cameras along a 10 mile stretch e.g. at slip roads on and off the motorway.

Average speed cameras record and can calculate your vehicle speed between these far more frequently installed speed camera locations.

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Question: I have today come home to two separate speeding notifications. The intention of prosecution forms have been filled and returned to each police constabulary.

The offences both happened in a 50mph roadwork zone on the M1 northbound on the same night. I was first caught doing 61mph and then 58. One at 01:34am and one at 02:47am. I was driving from London Gatwick airport to my home in Derbyshire at the time all the same, single journey.

I have never had a speeding conviction or points on my license at all in 8 years of driving.

What penalties can I expect for my offence?

Answer: It sounds like you may have been caught speeding by average speed check cameras sited in the roadwork's on the M1. It is crucial to maintain an average speed of the 50mph speed limit throughout the complete speed controlled zone, this may be several miles.

We are unable to provide legal advice; you will need to let the prosecution run its course.

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Question: I have a question about the average speed cameras on the M6 between Junction 16 and Junction 19. So I come onto the motorway at Junction 16 doing just above the 50mph average to gain speed to get onto the carriageway without braking I then reduce to 50mph then at Junction 18 there's a traffic jam so I'm doing well below the average now so my overall average between camera 1 and current location is now well below 50mph so once traffic clears and starts moving again I'm doing an average of say 60mph between where traffic started flowing again and the last camera at Junction 19 so would I be classed as speeding even though my overall average between camera 1 and last camera was well below 50mph?

Answer: Average speed cameras work via a connected network of a series of cameras – two or more.

For argument sake if you were driving through roadwork's with a speed limit of 50mph and you drove past the first average speed camera at 80mph and then hit heavy traffic and crawled along at 30mph and you drove past the second average speed camera again at 80mph located several miles down the road, the net result would be that your "average" speed between the camera points would be significantly lower than the 80mph you drove past both cameras, let's say 57mph. So while the average speed camera system would record that you weren't speeding. The fact remains that you would have been, should a marked or unmarked Police car or mobile safety camera van also be deployed and used on the road at them same time, then you would have exceeded the road speed limit and broken the law.

So in answer to your question yes, you would have been classed as speeding.

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Question: Usually when I come across average speed cameras the limit is usually 50mph, noted by signposts on roads or motorway roadworks. Is this universal 50mph allways? I came across some on a single carriage way where it's commonly national speed limit, would I have been okay to continue doing 60mph? I slowed down to 50mph to play it safe.

Answer: The lowest speed limit we know of in the UK for average speed cameras is 20mph (see photo to the right).

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Question: I've recently noticed throughout motorway roadworks, lorries tend to drive around 55mph, my first question is at what speed would a driver be prosecuted in a 50mph speed limit, I observed the lorries changing lanes past each average speed camera, my next question is; does this confuse the system when there's one camera designed to each lane?

Answer: It is a common myth that changing lanes confuses fixed average speed check cameras, this is not the case.

Police forces generally use ACPO guidelines these are speed limit + 10% + 1 or 2 mph. However, it has been know that some police forces use just above the speed limit.

Our advice is drive strictly at or below the posted road speed limit.

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Question: The scenario below is hypothetical, and I want to know what would be the outcome should one be in this situation. I drove through two average speed cameras, the first was a 50mph speed camera. This was the legal speed at the time, as the stretch of road I was in was a 50mph zone.

But later on the legal speed limit dropped to 40mph, I continued at 50mph and drove passed an average speed camera at 50mph and the legal limit was 40 for that part of the road.

How would the average be calculated when you have two different speed zones?

And would I hypothetically been legally speeding for the scenario above?

Answer: I would expect in this scenario there to be two sets of average speed cameras.

1. the first set would enforce a speed limit of 50mph
2. the second set would enforce a speed limit of 40mph

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Question: I travel down a bypass everyday which contains mainly 60mph speed limits but does have a 1mile stretch of 70mph in the middle can the cameras work the average out to incorporate this. And also will the camera change when there are Road works and limit changes to 50mph.

Answer: Yes, average speed cameras can take into account the average time it should take to drive between camera points when driving at 60mph and 70mph.

When roadwork's are installed average speed cameras can be reprogrammed at the control room to take into account a reduced speed limit.

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Question: I respect the law and would accept an NIP if I thought it was justified. However, to know if you are speeding or not in an average speed zone, surely you need to know what distance the average speed is being measured over? If the distance is not clearly stated or the camera poles are not marked to indicate they are the start and finish of a particular measuring segment, then can it be a defence to an NIP to challenge the lack of prior knowledge of the measuring distance?

Answer: Average speed camera zones across the UK road network will be sign posted from the entry of the first camera to the end of the zone. You will need to maintain the road speed limit throughout the complete zone.

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Question: Given the density of traffic on some motorways can average speed cameras really compute every vehicle that goes past and calculate average speed as they pass the next camera? Or is it in reality triggered by cars exceeding the speed on the first or subsequent camera?

Yes, average speed cameras photo each and every single passing vehicle, this is how they work.

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Question: There is now an average speed limit of 50mph on a stretch of the A406, monitored by cameras. Suppose my speed averages 45mph through this stretch, but I'm travelling at 55mph at one point. Can a police office who observes me at 55mph book me for speeding?

Answer: Fixed point speed cameras e.g. SPECS average speed cameras and the actions of an individual Police officer and/or other separate device for recording/monitoring/enforcing speeding e.g. mobile speed camera van can and do all operate independently of each other. Therefore if a Police office observes you speeding, yes he or she can issue you with speeding ticket.

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Question: On the A9 two speed limits apply covered by the average speed cameras. HGV's at 50mph and cars at 60mph. Can the cameras differentiate between the two vehicle types or are the cameras set at the higher limit. I ask this as HGV seem to be travelling far in excess of the 50 limit and I do not see any results showing great levels of fines on this category.

Answer: The information we have seen suggests that the average speed cameras sited on the A9 can differentiate between different classes of vehicles travelling at different speeds.

However, SpeedCamerasUK.com is not connected with any UK Police or other local authority. We don't run, install or operate any speed camera - we just list where they are and information about them. To confirm the answer I would recommend your contact either the local Police or council authority.

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Question: General question on average speed cameras: On a 40mph stretch of road coverd by two cameras, what if I drivde through the first camera at 70mph, stop midway for a meal and a sleep of say, 2 hours, then accelerate away and drive through the second camera at 70mph will my 'average speed' still be recorded as under 40mph?

Answer: Each average speed camera you pass takes a photo of your vehicle, these photos are digitally date and time stamped.

To calculate your average speed, SPECS and VECTOR average speed check system uses the date/time that is recorded when passing each camera location.

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Question: As average speed cameras don't flash, do they work in the dark?

Yes, SPECS and VECTOR average speed camera use infra-red so they can operate 24/7.

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Question: I've looked everywhere I can't believe no one has asked this question: the average speed check cameras SPECS and even new VECTOR etc, that are now popping up in many locations across London with more to come no doubt. Do they only take images of the front of the vehicle. The front number plate not rear. It seems that way to me. So if say someone is riding a motorcycle which does not require a front facing number plate; are they unable to be prosecuted by these average speed cameras?

Answer: Motorcyclists number plate is not recorded via a forward facing Truvelo, Truvelo D-Cam, VECTOR or SPECS speed camera system.

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Question: Thanks for all the excellent information provided by yourselves on all speed cameras, but the question I have is... Does an average speed camera area have to display a sign saying that it is an average speed area, or can they just go on the usual speed camera sign?

Answer: I'm not sure if there are any ACPO or government guidelines on this. I think as a minimum the standard speed camera sign/logo needs to be displayed ahead of a speed camera location, be it Gatso, SPECS, Truvelo, etc.

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Question: I pass through an area of average speed cameras regularly. However, there are occasions when I only pass one of the cameras from where I come on to the motorway until where the monitoring zone ends. Do the average speed cameras work the same way as a conventional camera does as well as monitoring the average between set points? i.e if the limit is 50mph within the zone but I am only passing one camera at say 70mph would I be ticketed? I wouldn't assume so as there is no way of monitoring the average between 2 points

Answer: Average speed cameras need two or more cameras paired together to record the average speed of a passing vehicle.

If the section of road you are driving only has a single average speed, then there is no way your average speed can be calculated… not unless you've missed the second camera?

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Question: I have a question about the yellow average speed cameras. Today I was driving in London and drove through a set of 30mph average cameras. The 30mph sign appeared only just before the first set of cameras. I was driving a little over 30mph. The next set of cameras was less than 50feet away and then there were no more. I have not seen this set up before and I was wondering, as the distance was so short between cameras, whether they would have been live and an average speed would have been worked out.

Answer: For average speed cameras e.g. SPECS or VECTOR to operate they need at least two points of fixed cameras. When driving passed each camera a digital stamped image of your vehicle is taken, your average speed between the two points is then calculated.

I cannot say whether the camera system you drove past was operational or not. However, any distance no matter how short can be used to provide an average speed. As after all, fixed speed cameras such as Gatso's record your speed within a distance of no more than 5 metres.

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Question: If upon arriving at an average speed camera setup of 50mph travelling around 55mph but then slowing down to almost 40mph before the last camera will a fine be issued? This was a two camera location setup only.

I was on the A12 keeping to the 40mph average speed limit but at one point for about 100yards I hit 50mph but once I noticed a reduced back down to 40mph. Am I likely to get a penalty for this?

Answer: Those questions are impossible to answer as it depends on two factors:

1. The speed threshold of the average speed camera system e.g. 52mph/42mph – the speed at which a NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) is generated.

2. The point at which you slowed down to or below 50mph/40mph and thus your average speed between the SPECS cameras was within the enforced road speed limit.

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Question: If driving through a section of road that is an "Average speed check" surely it is an average of 40mph over a specified distance, as opposed to 40mph full stop. Is that correct?

Answer: Yes, that is correct; it's your average speed between the SPECS camera locations that record and time/date stamp your vehicles speed. So if for example you sped up to 45mph briefly to allow a vehicle out of a slip road, before driving back at or below 40mph, and overall your average speed was 40mph then you would have complied with the law.

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Last updated: 28th February 2019