Speed Camera

Do you believe the 4 most common speed camera myths?

20th Feb, 2023

It may be an unfair assumption, but we’re willing to bet that at some point or another the majority of people reading this have fallen afoul of a speed camera at some point. It’s the single most common driving offence in the UK, so somewhat unsurprisingly, speed cameras are one of those things that so many of us love to hate. They’ve been around since the early 90s, so there’s been plenty of time for some quite pervasive myths to develop.

Now, here at Scrap Car Network we’re all about making things easier for you when you decide: I need to scrap my car. So, we thought we’d take a moment to make things easier for you when you’re out on the roads too, and take another look at the biggest myths about speed cameras and enforcement officers.

Myth #1: They don’t have to be visible

This is a puzzlingly common one, so you might be surprised to learn that there’s actually no law that says enforcement officers or cameras have to be visible. However, though traffic officers are well within their legal rights to camouflage themselves, very few of them bother, as most are of the opinion that the sight of their vehicles often serves as an effective speeding deterrent in itself. And as one officer quoted in the Daily Mirror pointed out, in theory he wouldn’t even need to be present himself – he could go on a wander and let the van do the deterring for him.

The same broadly goes for speed cameras. Currently, there’s ongoing work being undertaken to ensure that greater numbers of speed cameras throughout the UK are being painted yellow, but contrary to what a lot of people seem to believe, it’s not a legal requirement. As the AA points out, speed cameras “aren’t there to be spotted and dodged – the point of them is to encourage drivers to stick within the speed limit”.

Myth #2: You can avoid being caught by changing lanes

This is another one that’s so pervasive that the AA thought it was worth taking the time to address it directly. Like so many of the most pervasive myths, it does have some slight basis in truth. Older speed cameras did have a slight drawback in that they could have been ‘tricked’ in this way, but that’s not been the case for a very long time.

Modern speed cameras rely on more advanced systems that utilise multiple sets of cameras at each point, to track all the lanes and compare average speeds. So whatever lane you’re driving in – and whatever lane you’re changing to – if you’re driving over the speed limit, then yes they will still catch you.

Myth #3: Traffic officers have targets set by the government

This is a slightly less common myth, but still one that gets probably an airing down the end of the bar in your local occasionally. After all, it’s stuff that most of us like believing about public services we don’t like (see also: traffic wardens in major city centres). Sometimes, those suspicions may even turn out to be true.

But not in this case. Traffic officers don’t have quotas they have to meet, or a minimum target that they have to rake in from motorists. Like it or not, they’re just they’re to catch the people who are speeding. Most are perfectly happy to go home at the end of the day not having caught anyone. After all, they’re salaried, not on commission, and if everyone is going under the speed limit, then they know they’ve done their job.

Is it illegal to flash your headlights to alert motorists of a speed van?

Surprisingly enough, this one is actually not a myth, as technically the answer is yes. It comes under Section 89 of the Police Act 1997, which makes it an offence to “wilfully obstruct a constable in the execution of his or her duty”. However, it’s very difficult to prove, and to be honest – again, lots of officers aren’t too fussed about it.

After all, as far as they’re concerned, their job is to ensure that people keep their speed down to a reasonable level. And whether it’s the sight of the van or the sight of another motorist’s warning that gets that done – if it gets people to slow down, then the officer has done their job.

Speaking of doing a job, personally we’re very passionate about ours – helping you to get the very best price when you scrap your car with us. Don’t just take our word for it – get an instant online quote today! It’s free, and there’s zero obligation until you decide you’re ready to proceed. enter your car reg and postcode into the fields on our site, and within seconds you’ll be looking at your very own instant online quote. Ready to find out how much your car is worth?

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