Motor lawyer Jeanette Miller examines various popular – and in some cases, illegal – strategies used by drivers to avoid being caught by speed cameras.
Obviously the simplest way to avoid a speeding prosecution is to ensure you drive in accordance with the relevant speed limit in the first place.
If caught, you can always hire a specialist solicitor to challenge the speed camera reading, but the bad news is that as far as the Home Office and the courts are concerned, speed cameras are by and large extremely accurate devices.
When challenging speeding cases, our clients’ defences often involve some element of human error on the part of the officer operating the speed gun rather than simply suggesting the device used is inherently inaccurate.
But are there ways to fool speed cameras so you don’t even need to consult a lawyer?
“Is it true that if you change lanes between average-speed cameras you can’t be caught?”
When you pass the first of a pair of average-speed cameras (often used when there are roadworks or lane closures), it takes a photograph of your registration plate, regardless of whether you are speeding or not.
Another camera further down the road does the same and a calculation is made as to how quickly you covered that distance, which gives your average speed.
The original situation was that these devices were only approved by the Home Office to monitor a single lane.
Recently, however, their remit has been extended to cover multiple lanes, so changing lanes will not prevent a speeding ticket.
“I have a coated number plate which looks normal but can’t be photographed.”
This is illegal. The regulations governing what can and cannot be done to a registration plate are quite prescriptive.
In particular it must not be treated in any way which makes the numbers and letters difficult to distinguish by eye, or which would prevent or impair the taking of a photograph of the plate.
This even applies to the positioning or colour of any bolts or screws attaching the plate to the vehicle.
There are also regulations as to the dimensions of the numbers and letters and for how they are grouped on the plate.
Any breach of these regulations could lead to a fine of up to £1,000.
“I was thinking about buying a device which detects speed cameras.”
There are two types of devices which are available, both of which are legal, and some satnavs have these both included.
Having said that, both have their limitations.
The first type of device comes preloaded with the locations of static cameras and which warn you as you are approaching them.
There are three main problems with these devices:
- Over-reliance on the device instead of vigilantly watching road signs;
- The information of the locations becoming out of date as cameras are removed in some locations and added in others;
- These devices will not detect police officers stationed with handheld devices.
The second type of device is a radar-detection device, which detects handheld radar speed guns.
These devices are not particularly accurate and in some instances only give a warning as late as a third of a second before the radar gun hits your car to detect your speed, at which point it is far too late to slow down.
It is up to you whether you think that shelling out for one of these devices, perhaps costing hundreds of pounds, is worth it.
“Can I outrun the speed camera?”
Speed cameras work up to around 300mph so unless you are driving a jet-powered car the answer is no.
Motor lawyer Jeanette Miller, is the senior partner of Geoffrey Miller Solicitors, a UK firm specialising solely in defending drivers who face prosecution for motoring offences. She is also a member of the Association of Motor Offence Lawyers.