The Scottish Highlands are lovely for touring, though the roads are often narrow. But there is a nasty problem lurking behind the beauty of the mountains. It is called a speed camera trap. It is not nice. Most of these points will apply in any country which controls the speed of drivers.
The best way of avoiding speeding fines is not to exceed the limit. Two kinds of
Totting up; the threat to your licence
3 penalty points are added to your licence for each normal speeding offence (it can be more for excessive speeding). You can get points also for defective brakes, lights and tyres, and overtaking on a zebra crossing. 12 points and you will lose your licence for 6 months. What is not always understood is that if you travel from Edinburgh to Glasgow at speed, say at 3.00am and you pass through 4 sets of cameras on the way, that one journey of an hour or so will lose your licence for you. They are all separate offences. All the pressure is on high mileage drivers and their living. Four defective tyres will also lose the licence.
Where most cameras are situated -
Most of them are on Main Roads going in to towns, some are on the Main Roads out of towns. Many are placed near schools. In the UK you get plenty of warning signs – a camera drawn on a white background and the camera itself is yellow. Officially, speed cameras are designed to slow the traffic, and not to catch people out. But it is also believed that speeding fines are used to help funds for policing. There is truth in both ideas.
Variable speed limit cameras
Motorways around London and Birmingham have Variable Speed limits imposed for the weight of traffic. These can be lethal for speeding fines, and it is vital not to exceed the speed limits flashed on the bridges which can change minute by minute. Glasgow and Edinburgh may get them also.
A few tips if stopped by traffic police
There are 10% fewer police patrols around now compared to ten years ago. It is cameras
that are going to do the damage to-
From a camera incident the notification must be posted to you within two weeks from the time of the incident. It will ask you for the name of the driver at the time of the incident. Whatever you do, do not tell them it was your spouse, or someone else. They may have an advanced camera which records a picture of the driver. Now you will both be prosecuted for the extremely serious offence of Perverting the Course of Justice, which commonly carries a prison sentence. Don’t do this, however tempting it may be.
The letter you write initially, when you get the notification, will be crucial. Talk to your solicitor first, find out what defence you may have and include this in your reply. For example, you may have pulled out and speeded up out to overtake an erratically driven vehicle as you passed a camera in a Variable Speed limit zone. It might be sufficient to get you a warning instead of a prosecution, especially if you have only a few points and you are courteous in your submission Try everything you can to get a caution at this initial stage. Do your research work quickly after the incident.
This is your defence, even if you think you may be guilty
You need to find something wrong with the police procedure, or the camera set up, or in the speed limit signs being wrongly positioned, or obstructed.. Take pictures of the site and surrounds. There may be something wrong with the traffic orders. Such cases are very common, believe it or not. You’ll need a specialised solicitor to find the documents. Sometimes magistrates have some discretion, and a good letter can do wonders.
Average speed cameras
Very nasty cameras record the average speed between two points several miles apart.
These are commonly used on long-
Laser gun cameras
These are operated in daylight by specialist police units and are moved around to strategic points, either on motorway bridges, or, more commonly on roads on the outskirts of towns or in villages. They may be in place only for a couple of hours, before being moved on. A community council, for example, may kick up a fuss about local speeding and the Police will send in a laser team at regular intervals.
Two things. The hand held unit needs to be held very steady and needs a fairly long road section to register the number. They are careful to ensure that no accident will be caused by a target car suddenly stopping so their chosen spots will be limited. Where you see a straight road ahead for 300yds or so, and a yellow van parked on the side, there could be a mobile unit operating particularly if traffic is light.
Police cars can record your speed from in front of you as well as behind and they use video cameras to do so. Again, they are anxious not to be the cause of any accident if you stop suddenly, so you may find that it is easier for them to catch you speeding on an empty motorway at 1.00am.
You cannot rely on seeing street lighting to indicate a 30mph area. They can impose the restriction on unlit roads. Councils can now impose speed restrictions more or less where they want to because the conditions for 30mph and 40mph are only “advisory”. However there are often flaws in the traffic order and your solicitor may be able to get you off on a technicality. If speed signs are obscured by foliage or if, at the start of a restriction area there is not a sign placed on either side of the road then this may get you off if you can prove it with photos. Take a digital camera in your car.