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UK Speed CameraTolerances

(25 Posts)
nightvision Thu 17-Dec-20 06:08:32

"Most police forces have a tolerance of 10% plus 2 mph above the limit before a speed camera ‘flashes’. So on a 30 mph road, a camera wouldn’t normally activate unless a car drove past at 35 mph or above."

Here's more info.

I find the above statement a bit confusing, if not contradictory. . .

So, if a vehicle travels at exactly 35 mph on a 30 mph road, the camera will be activated according to the above statement. But surely this is still within the 10% plus 2 mph "tolerance", is it not?

Any legal minds out there who might give an opinion? Is this a good ground for a challenge if one does get such a ticket; or a 24 mph ticket on a 20 mph limit?

OP’s posts: |
Throwntothewolves Thu 17-Dec-20 06:15:07

I thought the 'tolerances' were to allow for discrepancies between what the cars speedometer reads and the actual speed at which it's travelling. So no, you couldn't argue that you weren't speeding if your car was recorded as going over the speed limit

Clymene Thu 17-Dec-20 06:17:56

If you were speeding, you can't really argue that you were only going a little over the limit. grin

TW2013 Thu 17-Dec-20 06:19:49

At 35mph you are still more likely to kill or seriously injure someone than at 30mph whatever the speed camera tolerance.

Idontgiveagriffindamn Thu 17-Dec-20 06:21:18

My husband has just done a speed awareness course and this came up.
It’s apparently not I’m a thing in all areas and a lot of people get fined at 1 mile over the speed limit

stillfeelingmad Thu 17-Dec-20 06:22:44

Well I'm a legal mind for a living and I think you should pay up. I'm sympathetic as I've had two in the last 5 years, one when I thought I was in a 40 and sailed past the camera at 37 and another where I was on a dual carriageway and had crept up to 78 blush
If you don't want tickets though be careful to stick to it

pinkbalconyrailing Thu 17-Dec-20 06:25:33

So, if a vehicle travels at exactly 35 mph on a 30 mph road, the camera will be activated according to the above statement. But surely this is still within the 10% plus 2 mph "tolerance", is it not?

no, the speedometers of cars arenot acurate which is the reason a 'tolerance' is built in in. in addition if you have a clock gauge then with the pointer might be difficult to guess the exact speed.
fixed speed cameras are showing the exact speed. hand held ones are a little more feeble but have the addition of a live witness.

Idontgiveagriffindamn Thu 17-Dec-20 06:44:55

I completely missed your actual question. Where the tolerance does exist it’s to take into account differences in speedometers not to give motorists an additional few mph they can travel. I don’t believe it is grounds to challenge a fine. If they offer you it do the course.

prh47bridge Thu 17-Dec-20 07:33:31

The tolerance does not exist in law. It is guidance from the Association of Chief Police Officers. They recommend that drivers should not be penalised unless they are doing at least 10% + 2mph over the limit. On their rule, 35mph is not within the tolerance. It is the lowest speed for which you can be penalised. However, as far as the law is concerned, you can be penalised if you are doing any speed over 30mph. Some police forces do not follow the ACPO guidance - Essex, for example, don't use a standard tolerance at all.

By the way, the tolerance is not due to speedometer inaccuracy. The law on speedometers is that they must not register a speed that is lower than the car's actual speed. When your speedo says you are doing 30mph, you are actually doing somewhere between 27mph and 30mph. You are definitely not doing more than 30mph unless your speedo is faulty. The tolerance is for safety reasons. It would not be good for safety if drivers were glued to their speedo all the time rather than concentrating on the road ahead.

To answer the original question, no, this is not good grounds for a legal challenge. The courts won't be interested in any arguments about tolerances because they don't exist in law. You can be penalised even if you are only doing 31mph in a 30mph zone.

nightvision Thu 17-Dec-20 10:13:47

Thank you all for your replies and @prh47bridge for the detailed explanation of the law. First, let me say I've absolutely no problems with the fact that doing 1 mile (or 0.5 mile) over the speed limit is breaking the law. Moreover, I'm aware that 10 mph or even less can still seriously injure or kill someone, never mind 30 or 35 mph. I'm proud to say in my entire many decades of my driving career I've never had a single point on my licence for speeding or any driving offences.

In fact, my OP on this thread wasn't even about doing 35 mph on a 30 mph road. I received a ticket for driving at 24 mph on a - unbeknown to me - 20 mph road. This was a road just coming off the North/South Circular Road area in south London, an area I've never been before. I come from north London.

Not an excuse, but if you look at the link given above on my OP, it says in the Metropolitan Police area the speed tolerance is 10% plus 3 mph! So I was well within the tolerance zone, I thought. I promise you I never knew of these facts before receiving the ticket - just doing the research after the ticket. And it didn't help matters when I read in the papers sometime ago that a single particular camera in the North Circular Road was generating hundreds of thousands of £s a year (if not million) for the authorities! Surely, the said camera wasn't there for "safety" reasons anymore? And I'm not even challenging the accuracy of the camera that snapped me; just asking for a fair assessment of my driving taking everything into consideration.

OP’s posts: |
nerdsville Thu 17-Dec-20 10:37:55

A 'fair assessment of your driving taking everything into consideration' is that you were not only driving 4 mph above the speed limit, but you were also not paying enough attention to realise what the speed limit actually was on that section of road.

If you getting this ticket reminds you to pay closer attention to the road in future then surely that camera is absolutely performing a safety function and not just there to rake in fines.

tommika Thu 17-Dec-20 10:57:00

The tolerance guidance they have given for the Met area does not have to be set on the cameras.
Camera & soeedgun operators and traffic police can use their judgement in setting the tolerances and in particular with police officers taking the call as to whether to just have a word or issue a ticket.

The discrepancy of 20 + 10% + 3 = 25mph tolerance and you being pinged at 24mph isn’t justification to overrule the ticket.

As you were in an area you don’t know, then using that as an argument can flag up how much attention you were paying to the road. Unless you can show that all 20mph signs were obstructed - but then you’re arguing that in court and adding to your costs if unsuccessful

Speedometers by law must not under estimate your speed, so at 24mph your speedometer was probably showing just under 30mph, which matches what you have said of not being aware of the 20mph limit - you thought you were complying but had missed the signs.

In the video below when the Speedo is approx 30mph their GPS is on 26mph

youtu.be/Wg_F63LfKQo

ProfessorSlocombe Thu 17-Dec-20 11:42:09

Speed awareness course instructors have been advising for years that you need to forget about "leeway" when it comes to speed. 31mph in a 30 is over the limit and that is that. If you get caught, you can be summonsed.

And there are people who have been summonsed for 31 in a 30, so it's not rare.

Moreover there's a general trend towards tighter enforcement of limits (as well as reviewing and lowering limits wholesale).

I will be interested to see how many people get caught when 20mph zones are camera controlled.

Now would be a really good time to learn not to speed.

Elai1978 Thu 17-Dec-20 18:30:05

And there are people who have been summonsed for 31 in a 30, so it's not rare.

This is something that people claim and yet when pressed they can never provide any paperwork such as an NIP proving such. I’m open to the fact that it’s possible but have seen no evidence. It’s a subject done to death on motoring forums where the conclusion reached is very much the same as mine.

ProfessorSlocombe Thu 17-Dec-20 18:53:01

Elai1978

*And there are people who have been summonsed for 31 in a 30, so it's not rare.*

This is something that people claim and yet when pressed they can never provide any paperwork such as an NIP proving such. I’m open to the fact that it’s possible but have seen no evidence. It’s a subject done to death on motoring forums where the conclusion reached is very much the same as mine.

Why does anyone have to prove anything ? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence for a start.

Also, in cases like this, there is a good reason to follow Pascals Wager, and assume it's true, rather than pooh pooh it and get a summons. Although 31 in a 30 first offence is almost the poster child for Speed Awareness Courses.

blacksax Thu 17-Dec-20 19:05:24

Saying that you got caught out because you'd never driven down that road before leaves you open to accusations of driving without due care and attention, surely? You can hardly use that as a defence.

If you've never been there before, you should have been all the more conscientious in checking the speed limit. Have you been back to see whether the signs are inadequate or obscured in any way?

prh47bridge Thu 17-Dec-20 20:29:54

I received a ticket for driving at 24 mph on a - unbeknown to me - 20 mph road

Worth checking the signage. A surprising number of 20mph areas do not have the correct signs in place.

ProfessorSlocombe Thu 17-Dec-20 20:54:36

One of the keystones of SACs is refreshing and reminding people how to ascertain what the speed limit is on any given stretch of road.

It's rare for appeals based on faulty signage to succeed, suggesting that it's driver error that's to blame.

prh47bridge Thu 17-Dec-20 22:18:39

It's rare for appeals based on faulty signage to succeed

Someone wanting to go down this route will need to be prepared for a fight (and should take professional advice). But it is possible to win this way. See Coombes v DPP [2006] EWHC 3263 (Admin) where the Divisional Court quashed a conviction for speeding because the 30mph sign was obscured by overgrown hedges. The motorist in this case had been convicted by magistrates and the Crown Court had upheld the conviction. Based on this ruling, if the speed limit signs are not adequate to warn the motorist of the restriction, the motorist should not be convicted. Similarly, under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 Section 85, a motorist cannot be convicted of speeding if the signage does not comply with the regulations (note, however, that no signs are required for a 30mph limit in an area where there are street lights every 200 yards or less).

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 18-Dec-20 06:51:44

My Dad was a Magistrate for over 30 years @nightvision the way you are talking is exactly the case he would come home and talk about. Invariably they were found guilty and got a higher penalty than if they had just accepted the offence at the start.
You were over the speed limit, you missed the signage, it wasn't intentional, but then most of the time it isn't.
If offered you a speed awareness course take it I found mine really informative, I was doing 31 in a 30 zone so yes there are zero tolerance forces - Hampshire Police in the Southampton area in my case.

Elai1978 Fri 18-Dec-20 10:18:40

I was doing 31 in a 30 zone so yes there are zero tolerance forces - Hampshire Police in the Southampton area in my case.

I’ll believe that if you can offer proof. To quote one of the UK’s top motoring barristers on the subject of 31mph in a 30 limit, “I’ve never seen one”

Elai1978 Fri 18-Dec-20 10:22:25

Oh and a 2019 FOI request revealed that Hampshire work to a tolerance of 10%+2mph.

ProfessorSlocombe Fri 18-Dec-20 10:26:54

Elai1978

*I was doing 31 in a 30 zone so yes there are zero tolerance forces - Hampshire Police in the Southampton area in my case.*

I’ll believe that if you can offer proof. To quote one of the UK’s top motoring barristers on the subject of 31mph in a 30 limit, “I’ve never seen one”

Your belief or otherwise doesn't invalidate the PPs experiences - I would have thought most posters to MN would be aware of that.

Moreover the only person losing out from not believing is - you.

Anyway, we all know that as long as you claim you are a Freeman of the Land and do the special sign they can't prosecute you for anything.

prh47bridge Fri 18-Dec-20 11:29:40

Elai1978

Oh and a 2019 FOI request revealed that Hampshire work to a tolerance of 10%+2mph.

Police forces change over time. Different Chief Constables have different priorities.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 18-Dec-20 17:07:51

@Elai1978 I accepted the speed awareness course unbelievably I didn't keep the paperwork - I don't need you to believe me it happened,
The speed awareness course taught me where I went wrong and I haven't been caught since.

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