I’m an ex-police officer and here’s how speed cameras REALLY work

I’m an ex-police officer and here’s how speed cameras REALLY work – the 10 per cent rule is real but they can change without giving us any notice

A former police officer has revealed how speed cameras really work – and warned drivers not to always rely on the 10 per cent rule.

Gareth Thomas – who worked for the North Wales police – said most forces will usually only pull over drivers if they’re caught going 10 per cent over the speed limit.

However, the ex-officer told North Wales Live that the speed cameras’ thresholds can change without any warning.

Gareth claimed any car which drives past a GoSafe van is recorded by an officer, meaning drivers going in different sets of directions can be picked up.  

Gareth Thomas, a former North Wales Police officer, answered questions on whether cameras have to be visible, the 10 per cent rule, who the revenue collectors are and whether officers enforce anything other than speeding. Pictured in a GoSafe van

Gareth Thomas, a former North Wales Police officer, answered questions on whether cameras have to be visible, the 10 per cent rule, who the revenue collectors are and whether officers enforce anything other than speeding. Pictured in a GoSafe van

The 10 per cent rule, where you can go within this range and not get a ticket, does exist and is not an urban myth, according to Gareth.

But he added: ‘However, Go Safe say thresholds vary and can change without notice. Officially, any speeding offence occurs at 1mph above the limit, but most forces will allow a variance.’

What’s more, he said if a GoSafe camera catches the same driver speeding within 20 minutes then the device will treat it as one offence. 

According to the former officer, a person with a clean license runs the risk of getting a penalty points disqualification if they’re caught speeding several times on the same day. Gareth says this usually catches people out when driving recklessly on on stretches of the same road or motorways.

A camera operator took helped dispel and debunk a few common myths around speeding fines (Pictured: file image of speeding camera)

A camera operator took helped dispel and debunk a few common myths around speeding fines (Pictured: file image of speeding camera)

Gareth highlighted how there is no law around visibility and said officers are within their right to camouflage themselves to try and catch speeders. 

But many choose not to hide away in the dark as remaining in sight is a better deterrent, he said.

Although it is not illegal to eat behind the wheel, police could charge the driver if it caused them to behave recklessly. 

On top of this, he claims alerting other drivers to the presence of a GoSafe van by flashing their lights could result in them being prosecuted by police. 

Analysts have determined the top 10 speeding capitals in the UK, with West Yorkshire ranking the worst for reckless drivers. Regional police constabularies in the northern county handed out the largest number of camera and officer-issued speeding tickets last year

Analysts have determined the top 10 speeding capitals in the UK, with West Yorkshire ranking the worst for reckless drivers. Regional police constabularies in the northern county handed out the largest number of camera and officer-issued speeding tickets last year

Citiing section 89 of the Police Act 1997,  the ex-officer reminded drivers that it is an offence to ‘wilfully obstruct a constable in the execution of his/her duty’.

It is also illegal to obstruct GoSafe vans when they are working and drivers may be fined and even prosecuted for it. 

Earlier this month, Britain’s speeding capitals were revealed following a Freedom of Information request. 

Officers in the region slapped drivers with the largest number of camera and officer-issued speeding tickets last year, according to a study.

Avon and Somerset, Thames Valley and the West Midlands also ranked highly for dishing out speeding offences.

But the country’s worst drivers overall, based on the number of driving licence points received, are located in Bradford. 

Researchers argue last year’s large sum of speeding citations across the UK is ‘very worrying’ because every 16 minutes someone is either killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads.

Heald, which manufacturers innovative hostile vehicle mitigation systems, obtained the information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Only 23 police forces – out of the 44 contacted – responded to the FOI request so the information is not complete.

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