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Average Speed Cameras Explained

Since their introduction on UK roads in Nottingham average speed camera usage in the UK has grown exponentially. The first average speed check cameras named SPECS appeared on the UKs roads in 2000. More recently in 2014 a new average speed camera has been developed by the same company behind SPECS. This new camera system is named VECTOR.

Although the first SPECS average speed check zones were deployed on residential roads circling and crossing Nottingham, their usage has been far more common and synonymous as temporary speed cameras throughout sections of the UK motorway network during roadwork's. However, this trend has been changing in more recent years since the introduction of the VECTOR average speed camera system as more and more councils now use average speed cameras as permanent fixtures on lower speed limit roads. For example, in Nottingham, where average cameras were first installed and the trialed, there are now eighteen roads covered by SPECS cameras including dual-cariageway, urban and rural roads.

How do Average Speed Cameras work?

Each average speed camera system, whether it be SPECS or VECTOR camera system consists of a number of video cameras linked either to a remote enforcement cabinet or, with SPECS3 systems, directly to the police enforcement office. Number plates are read via ANPR as vehicles pass through the fields of view of each camera and the average speed of the vehicle is calculated between any two cameras. If this exceeds the Police threshold a NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) letter is created and sent to the keeper of the vehicle.

“Driving habits have been affected within the SPECS zones with a far greater level of compliance than expected. There is a more even traffic flow within SPECS Speed Controlled Zones, and it has almost removed the dash between major junctions.” Nottinghamshire Safety Camera Partnership

Do you have a question about average speed cameras? You can read UK motorist's average speed camera questions and answers and you can also ask your own unanswered question via our online form. Alternatively, read UK drivers average speed camera comments.

No film

Unlike some other fixed UK speed cameras SPECS and VECTOR average speed cameras don't use film so there is no limit to the number of incriminating motorists it can help to prosecute. Your number plate, date and time stamp are stored by each average speed camera and then if your average speed between the cameras is above the speed limit you will automatically be issued a speeding fine.

Average Speed Camera installations

The very first SPECS average speed check systems were installed on Nuthall Road (A610) and Western Boulevard (A6514), Nottingham in July 2000.

Before SPECS average speed camera system was installed, Nuthall Road and Western Boulevard had the worst Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) figures in the county. Nottingham wanted to create ‘speed control zones’ rather than target individual accident black spots, so spot speed cameras were not considered appropriate for these key routes into the city centre.

The table below highlights the percentage change of those killed or seriously injured before and after SPECS average speed cameras were installed on selected roads in Nottingham.


Points and Penalties

The absolute minimum penalty for being caught speeding on the UK's roads increased 66.7% in July 2013 from £60 to £100 fine. A minimum of 3 penalty points will also be added to your licence.

However, depending on the road speed limit and your actual recorded speed in the speeding offence a court summons may be generated in place of the Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) through the post. Read more about speeding fines.

It cannot be detected by radar and laser speed camera detectors - you will need a GPS speed camera detector.

Average Speed Camera locations

What is your view and experiences with average speed cameras in the UK? Tell us and read more average speed camera comments. Alternatively, if you have a question relating to average speed cameras, please see our average speed camera Q&A page.

Want to know where the UK's mobile speed camera trap are as you drive? Here at SpeedCamerasUK.com we have a UK database of speed camera locations. This database also includes Gatso, SpeedCurb, Truvelo, Truvelo D-Cam, SPECS, Peek, Traffic Light speed cameras and more. Read more about the speed camera types.

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Last updated: 11th September 2023