Speed Camera Vans – Everything You Need to Know About How They Work and What to Expect

Author: Kim Jacobs

Mobile speed camera vans are one of the ways that the authorities use to catch traffic violators. Adhering to the speed limit in the particular area you are driving in, is naturally, of paramount importance to guarantee your and everyone else’s on-the-road safety. Every once in a while, however, you might find yourself caught speeding, whether due to empty roads, a new powerful vehicle, or just not paying enough attention to the posted speed limit. This might lead to you getting worried about whether or not you are to expect a speeding ticket in the post any time soon, especially if you pass a mobile speed camera van. So, here is everything you need to know about speeding cars and speed camera vans.

Do mobile speed cameras get you from the front or back?

Back in the day, mobile speed camera vans used radar technology to detect a vehicle’s speed and determine whether or not the motorist is in violation. These vans are designed to catch speeding motorists by using advanced radar and laser technology. This technology is still often used in fixed-speed cameras and the so-called speed guns. In camera vans that meant that you needed to pass the van before it could detect your speed. These forward-facing cameras were posing some difficulties for police officers, and according to some people, made setting up speed traps more difficult. These vans can capture speeding vehicles traveling in the same or opposite direction. Today, more often than not, a camera van is likely to be equipped with laser technology equipment that enables the driver and the police officer to see the number plate and speed of the vehicle while it is still behind the van. That means that you need to fine-tune your speed awareness if you want to avoid a fine and penalty points for speeding.

Do Speed Camera Vans Flash?

It is common knowledge that fixed speed cameras flash and radar guns produce a visible flash when a motorist is caught breaking the speed limit. You need to know that there is no visible flash coming from speed vans when they take a speed measurement – no matter whether they detect careless driving or the motorist is following the rules of the road. If you are speeding and you pass a mobile camera van, you should assume that you have been caught breaking the law. Depending on the speed you are going with, you can expect to receive a fine or a combination of a fine and penalty points on your driving license.

How do I know if I have been caught by a speed camera van?

Unfortunately, there is no direct way to determine whether or not you have committed a speeding offence by going above the speed limit and being caught by a mobile camera. Before the fine is issued there is a process that goes on in the traffic police department, and you can’t phone or check online to make sure that you are going to receive a penalty.

Once a traffic violation is detected, it takes up to 14 working days for the fine to be issued. However, it takes no more than five working days for you to receive it. That is the only way to know. You should be aware of the fact that all traffic violations and fines can be appealed via a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP). The most common reason fines are being overthrown is the so-called two-week rule – you are unlikely to have to pay if it took more than two weeks for the speeding ticket to reach you.

Are mobile speed camera vans always visible to drivers?

Another common misconception is that mobile speed camera vans should be marked and visible at all times. UK police officers use both unmarked cars and marked vans when they are monitoring the traffic. They can also park the van in such a way that they are not immediately visible to the motorists. Mobile vans operate at all times of the day and night as well, so there is no guarantee you will not come across a speed van if you are driving after sunset, or early in the morning, for example, making it crucial to always adhere to speed limits.

What are the differences between mobile speed cameras and average speed cameras?

Average speeds, speed cameras and mobile speed cameras are utilized for different purposes. Speed cameras work by either measuring the average speed between two points or capturing the exact speed at a single point. They differ in the way they are set up, as well as the technology they use to detect a vehicle’s speed on the road. Average speed cameras are fixed in one position. They are typically used in pairs, and they measure the average speed a vehicle is travelling between the two. Mobile cameras can be fixed in one position, or they can be moving on the road in a speed van. They are capable of measuring the speed of the vehicle with extreme accuracy and determining whether or not the motorist is violating the speed limit at any moment.

UK fixed and mobile speed camera tolerances

Some police forces in the UK have tolerances for mobile and fixed-speed cameras. Please note that this does not apply to all forces in the country, however. For those that offer fixed and mobile speed camera tolerances, the rule is typically 10% over the speed limit plus 2 mph. For instance, if you are driving in an area with a 40 mph speed limit, a mobile camera will take a picture of your car and license plate and note your speed if you are driving over 46 mph. You should not rely on that rule, however, as it is completely up to the police authorities in the particular area to decide whether or not they would be following that rule.

About the Author:

Kim Jacobs is a removals coordinator with over 11 years of experience as part of the Get man and van team and other firms in the home and office relocation industry in London. Before joining our company, Kim has worked in various logistical and transportation companies and institutions such as Transport for London, The Removals Ombudsman, and has coordinated moving projects with some of the biggest suppliers of various goods such as IKEA, HomeBase, Amazon, Sainsbury's and others. While working as a chief removals coordinator, Kim also enjoys sharing her expertise with others through writing in our blog.

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