Cameras That Watch You Drive

Who’s Watching you Drive?

The question could better be phrased, “what’s watching you drive?”, and the answer is many different sleepless automatic eyes indeed.

The now ubiquitous speed camera, (or is it a safety camera?) has become commonplace in the UK. The first yellow boxes to be installed beside our roads was the Gatso make.

This camera is the most widespread throughout the country. It operates by radar, calculating the vehicles speed, and can determine between types of vehicle, each of which can have varying speed restrictions.

If triggered, it will take a photo of the back of the vehicle and its number plate, so that the flash needed by the snap does not startle or blind the driver.

The road surface area that the Gatso camera is focused on, will have white lines painted on it. This is to enable a secondary method of calculating the speed, if necessary to correlate the camera.

The Gatso can lead to disputes or denials over who was actually driving at the time. Are you unsure who was driving at the time of your alleged offence? can help you to defend these allegations successfully.

A similar looking yellow box camera is the Truvelo. This works on a slightly different principle, and the driver can see the front facing camera pointing towards them.

This is because the Truvelo, when triggered to photograph, “flashes” using infra-red light, invisible to the human eye. The snap it takes is not only of the front number plate, but also the driver, leading little doubt as to driver identity.

The system is triggered by sensors buried in the road surface, which calculate the speed of the vehicle as it passes over them, triggering the camera as necessary. White lines are also painted on the road surface, as with the Gatso, to allow a secondary method of calculation.

Another speed camera gaining popularity (or is that notoriety?) is the SPECS average speed camera. Increasingly in use on dual carriageways and stretches of motorway, particularly covering roadworks and lane restrictions.

These gantry mounted cameras, one for each lane, video the number plate of the passing vehicle and note the time. At a further distance, say, two miles, but completely variable depending on the stretch of road, another set of cameras video the number plate and note the time.

The calculation of time/distance gives a straightforward average speed, and the ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) capacity within the camera computer can automatically send out an NIP or fine notification.

Although first used as temporary measures during road works, many stretches of road now carry permanent average speed cameras, SPECS and VECTOR being the manufacturers acronyms.