SPECS speed camera flaw revealed

It has been revealed by the Home Office that a fundamental flaw in the SPECS speed camera system has been uncovered.

Nov 2, 2006
By David Howell
Graeme Biggar

It has been revealed by the Home Office that a fundamental flaw in the SPECS speed camera system has been uncovered.

Unlike the existing Gatso system that uses a single camera to calculate the average speed of a passing motorist, the SPECS system uses two cameras. The passing car is flashed twice as it passes both cameras to calculate its average speed.

The flaw in the system allows motorists to fool the SPECS system by switching lanes to avoid the fine and three points on their license.

The SPECS system was designed to catch drivers who have a habit of driving up to a speed camera over the legal speed limit and then slow down as they approach the camera site. Unfortunately, the law as it currently stands requires the offending motorist to be filmed in the same lane as they commit the offence.

The cameras are produced by Camberley-based Speed Check Services who had the cameras approved by the Home Office in 1999. The company’s director Graeme Southwood claimed that some motorists would still be caught even if they did repeatedly change lanes.

Meredydd Hughes, head of roads policing for the Association of Chief Police Officers, told The Sun newspaper that it would be “irresponsible” and dangerous for drivers to change lanes in a bid to avoid detection.

Motorists groups have been quick to point out that there is too much of a focus on speed cameras and detecting motorists who drive a few miles per hour above the speed limit, and that detecting drunk drivers, uninsured drivers or unroadworthy cars should also be a priority.

£120 million was raised last year from two million speeding motorists. Currently there are 27 sets of SPECS cameras installed across the UK at a cost of between £180,000 and £1.5 million per site.

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