Keep Your Speed Down
Speeding is the most common motoring offence in Britain, at a rate that shows no slowing down! The question to muse upon is, are British motorists a nation of reckless speedsters, or is the apparatus to catch them in place, highly specialised, state of the art technology. It is likely we would all agree on the latter.
A look at some of these technological wonders may go to show why the chances of “getting away with” speeding are pretty slim.
The hand held radar gun employed by the police has been around in one form or another since the early sixties, although now mostly replaced by laser guns, they are a rather haphazard and sporadic method of catching speeders.
Accurate and effective they are, however they require constant manpower and generally only pop up at perceived black spots from time to time.
The serious contenders arrived at our roadsides in the early ‘90’s, the first being, and still in use, the Gatso, closely followed by the Truvelo, static, permanent speed (or safety, depending on your outlook) cameras.
The Gatso is in effect, a static radar gun, which is activated by a vehicle travelling towards it, at over the proscribed limit. The camera in it, then takes several pictures of the rear of the vehicle including its registration number plate.
It takes the pictures from the rear because the camera is activated with a powerful flash, which were it in front, could startle or even momentarily blind the driver. The pictures are taken in sequence as the vehicle travel over a number of white lines painted on the road. This enables a secondary method of determining the speed.
The Truvelo camera appears to be a similar yellow boxed roadside sentinel, but it works in different ways. The camera is forward facing toward the oncoming vehicles, and the camera is triggered by speeding vehicle as they pass over sensors buried in the approaching stretch of road.
The pictures taken are of the front of the vehicle, taking in not only the registration plate, but a picture of the driver behind the wheel, thus removing any doubt as to the identity of the driver at the time. The pictures can be taken from the front because the flash mechanism uses infra-red light which is not visible to the human eye, but allows perfectly good photography.
These few machines are the basic foot soldiers in the speed camera range, with some far more sophisticated robots currently being installed!