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Legality of speed camera detectors

Were speed camera detectors to be banned under the Labour Governments proposed Road Safety Bill?

It is 100% legal (October 2020) to use a speed camera detector in the UK to warn of all speed camera locations - fixed and mobile. Legislation implemented on the 27th January 1998 made the detection of speed cameras a lawful activity.

The last Labour Government, through the Road Safety Bill, were reviewing the use of speed camera detectors and their technologies in the UK. The Road Safety Bill was looking to ban speed camera jammers and detectors.

To fully understand the implications of that Road Safety Bill first you need to understand the different types of speed camera detectors that are available in the UK.

There are currently three different technologies that a speed camera detector could utilise to detect and warn of an approaching speed camera. Speed camera detectors can use Radar detection, Laser detection and GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) a combination of one, two or all three of the technologies can be used.

Legality of radar and laser systems was under review, as they potentially allow a motorist to drive above the speed limit through an in active road side speed camera (without facing prosecution).

Department for Transport - Road Safety Bill 2004 note 2: Speeding

"Safety Cameras form an integral part of a successful road safety strategy, strict rules govern the positioning of cameras to ensure that they are sited only where there is a demonstrable risk and danger to road users. There is overwhelming evidence from both UK and international literature that speeding results in more collisions and more severe casualties. Furthermore the evidence from the independent review of the safety camera programme by University College London and PA Consulting found that cameras significantly reduced the number of people killed or seriously injured at camera sites.

The Government believes that devices which interfere with or detect the proper functioning of such cameras have only one purpose: to tell drivers when they can break speed limits and get away with it. This is unacceptable. It prevents the police from carrying out their duties, and is a danger to other law-abiding road users.

The Government will not be prohibiting those devices that rely on Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to warn drivers of published camera sites or posted speed limits, as these compliment the Government's policy to ensure that camera sites are visible and conspicuous to drivers, and so help deter excessive and inappropriate speeds on the roads."

Source: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmbills/170/06170.22-28.html#j8001

Read a version of the complete Road Safety Bill as a PDF file
Please note: This may not be the most recent revision.

Last updated: 11th September 2023