New research reveals at what speeds cameras will activate

New research has uncovered the true tolerances built into speed cameras – and whether the rumours surrounding them are true.

A series of Freedom of Information requests to the UK's 45 police forces were undertaken by car magazine Auto Express, asking at what speed the fixed cameras would register a motorist breaking the limits.

The questions were prompted by rumours at the start of 2019, which suggested that speed camera tolerances on certain roads were set to capture motorists who exceeded the limit by even 1mph.

Of the 45 police forces questioned, 36 replied, with the remainder – including Bedfordshire, Essex, Scotland and the West Midlands – either refusing to confirm the existence of a threshold, or refusing to reveal it.

The majority of those that responded, however, said that their cameras would only activate when it sees motorists exceeding the speed limit by 10 per cent plus 2mph. This is in line with guidelines from the Association of Chief Police Officers.

This would see cameras issue tickets, for example, to cars driving at over 35mph in a 30 zone, 46mph in a 40mph zone or 79mph on the motorway.

Speed fines

File photo dated 28/06/15 of three SPECS Average Speed cameras in position on the M3 motorway in Hampshire. The number of drivers caught speeding is more than 160 times higher in some parts of England and Wales than others, a study by the RAC Foundation has found.

The Metropolitan Police uses a less strict 10 per cent plus 3mph, which it says is a response to higher volumes of traffic in the capital. Lancashire police also uses this threshold.

All police forces questioned told Auto Express that the same thresholds applied to fixed and average speed cameras.

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