09 December 2011
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We hold one of the best safety records in the world. The job of Safety camera’s is to help keep the country’s network safe. Below is brief outline about the rules, how they work and what will happen if you are caught.

What are the Statistics

Safety cameras reduce speed and without them, there would be around 100 more people killed on our roads each year. Statically nine people are killed and 85 are injured everyday on our roads.

What are the Types

Traffic signal or the red-light camera and speed cameras which can be:


The Mobile camera

The average speed camera (relates to time-over-speed)

The safety cameras we have in England and Wales are controlled and operated by local partnerships. The partnerships are made up from the police, local authorities and the courts.

Rules attaining to Safety Camera’s

The decision on how they are used is decided by the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers. A pamphlet is produced by the Department of Transport called ‘Use of speed and red-light cameras for traffic enforcement: guidance on deployment, visibility and signing’. The pamphlet accounts where a camera can be used and how they should be displayed and signposted. Be aware even if a safety camera doesn’t meet this guidance, you will not be able use this as a defence, if caught speeding or going through a red light.

Certain roads are selected for the placement of Safety Camera’s. These are:

Where there is evidence of speeding.

Local community concerns IE a school

History of road traffic collisions

Speed limits can also be enforced by the police. In these circumstances the rules pertaining to a camera’s visibility don not apply.

The Penalty Point and Speeding Fine

When vehicles are caught ‘running’ a red light or exceeding the speed limit by a safety camera, the registered keeper is sent a form, called ‘Notice of Intended Prosecution’ within a 14 day period. The registered keeper has to identify the driver at the time of the offence in a section of the form. A conditional offer of a fixed penalty is awarded if you are the driver. If you pay the fixed penalty, you will not have to attend a court hearing.

A fixed penalty of 3 points, are added is your licence along with a minimum fine of £60 for ‘running a red light.

You maybe required to go to court if:

You already have a number of points on your licence or the offence is classed as serious. Under these circumstances you will most likely have to go to court and a fixed penalty will not be offered.

You will have the opportunity to go to Court if: 

You wish to challenge the penalty issued or other mitigating circumstances you wish to be taken into account.

If it is your wish to go to court, the police have to be informed and a summons is issued. Stating the reasons for the dispute on the summons, including any further evidence you wish the court to take into account.

Court Appearance

Court magistrates will decide on your penalty points and fine. Please bear in mind they have to power to give you more points and make the fine higher! Plus order you to pay costs. Any fines imposed go to HM Treasury. The local council and the police do not profit from fines.

Setting the Speed

Road speed is a major factor in road collisions and fatalities in the United Kingdom; particularly in areas where vehicles and more vulnerable road users mix. Speeding can adversely affect the quality of life of many communities. If you are concerned about traffic speed in your area, you can request a speed limit to be put in place.

The ‘need for speed’ has been a major factor in the amount of road accidents and fatalities in the UK. In particular such areas where there is a more vulnerable mix of drivers. Excess speeding effects many communities, and also has an adverse effect on our way of life. If you feel concerned about the speed of the traffic in your area, you are able to request speed limitations to be put into place.

Why set speed limits

Setting a speed limit on our roads is designed for many reasons. Accessibility and the environment are taken into account and well the adoption of a safer speed limit to make driving safer for everyone.

The UK speeds limits are put in place by the government. The Traffic Authorities (which consists of the local highways authority on our local roads, and the Highways Agency for our trunk roads and motorways) responsibility is to introduce local speed limitations where they feel the national limit is not appropriate.

The Highway Code provides comprehensive information on speed limits, you would expect to come across under different road categories and also in chart form. You are able to purchase a copy of the Highway Code from most major book stores

I would like to get the local speed limit changed. What do I do?

The first step is to contact your local council who will take your request and make as assessment. The council coordinates with the police to have their views on where there is a proposed change to the speed limit. All aspects of the road in question for example, the amount of activity presently on the road, its alignment. What degrees of severance have to be taken into account for the sake of the local community by the speed of vehicles? 

These parameters are questioned when receiving a request for the lowering, raising or extending the speed limit.

To find out about speed limits in your area

The following link will let you enter details of where you live and then take you to your local authority website where you can find out more.  

The Traffic Authority takes into account the following factors below before a decision to change an existing speed limit

Will there be any accident or casualty saving?

Will they see an improvement to the environment?

Possible reduction in public anxiety

Could there be an increased journey time for motorised traffic

Costs of implementing

Regarding the vulnerable road user? Will they see improvement in the conditions and facilities?

Reasonable grading

If the driver is to observe our speed limits there should be a definable and reasonable grading system. Before any changes are made to this system the Traffic Authority takes into consideration the following factor to include:

What would it cost to enforce any changes?

Would there be a negative impact on the environment with any engineering measures/

What would be the costs of the engineering measures and their maintenance?

If a speed limit change is the only course of action after all considerations are taken into account. Then a Speed Limit Order has to be applied. The legal process involves regulatory statutes. If you notice a missing or vandalized speed limit sign and want to report it. This must be done with the appropriate Traffic Authority reporting the location of the sign in question with full details.

Where the road or street in question has a street lighting system, and there are no speed limit repeater signs, a 30mph limit usually applies. Traffic Authorities are not allowed to site 30mph repeater sign on this type of road. The street lighting system in itself should be sufficient evidence of a 30mph limit.