Watch out you speeders - Drivers please read

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by onedrummeruk, Nov 5, 2003.

  1. onedrummeruk

    onedrummeruk Member

    I have no reason to believe the following is false, but here goes.

    Subject: Speed cameras - new tactics

    Those new electronic signs on the M4 were switched on this Tuesday.
    The bad news is that they are rigged with the SPECS speed cameras.

    SPECS is a computer-camera based system. As you go past the sign a
    digital camera reads your number plate. When you go past the next sign
    your number plate is read again. The computer 'knows' how far apart the signs are
    so it can work out your average speed between the two, or three or four.

    The system is fully automatic and will issue a ticket without any form
    of human intervention. It does this for every single vehicle that
    passes. You will not know you've been caught as the cameras don't flash.

    They work 24/7, 365 days a year, and theoretically, there's absolutely
    no limit on the number of tickets that the system can issue.

    The whole section of the M4 between Theale (J12) and Membury Services
    (between 14 and 15) is wired, both ways. The system is set to trigger
    a ticket at 78 mph. Radar detectors will be of no use as SPECS is
    entirely passive, there is no radar or laser beam to detect

    These new signs are the big overhanging ones on hugh concrete pillars.
    You would have seen the purple piping for these being installed on the M1. A1. A1M. M6,
    and several other motorways.

    In effect the days of the speeding driver is over for good.

    Be warned and spread the news.
  2. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    I thought those tactics were illegal, I thought any method of catching people speeding had to be clearly marked.

    oh well, I'm sure we'll see soon enough.
  3. JessopSmythe

    JessopSmythe Active Member

    Both the police in the relevant areas, and the various motoring organisations issued statements yesterday stating that there are NO SPECS type cameras anywhere on the M4 and that the many rumours about them came from a hoax. So says Sally Traffic, anyway.
  4. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    knew I was right...
  5. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    Probably in a minority here, but surely these things are good? It's not a civil liberty to get a way with breaking the law if you possibly can, and if the average speed of your vehicle between 2 points was above 78 miles an hour, ie enough above to discount speedo inaccuracy, then you must have been getting towards 80 at some point.

    Its the level of the speed limit rather than the way of detecting law breakers thats the problem if this kind of technique was used to catch people who were driving at 90mph and the limit was 80mph then people would probably not be complaining.
  6. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    I think people should be caught for breaking the law, whatever the means. I think its a bit stupid that you've got to tell customers that you're secretly recording them, also kind of ironic!
  7. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Where did you hear/read this JS...? I travel that route regularly and would like some reassurance... :)

    ... not that I break the law of course you understand eh!
  8. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    of course not, but I'm pretty sure that speed cameras or anything similar have to be made 'Clearly Visible' to drivers.

    ps, this is one issue where people really do have power, hence the legality of secretly 'filming' people in any instance.
  9. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    You do have to clearly mark speed cameras.
    It was brought about by the EU, primarily because of health and safety. It was found that if people were driving along and suddenly came across a speed camera they tended to hit the brakes even if they were not speeding and accidents were caused, especially when speed cameras first came out.
    Now by law you have to signpost the fact that there is a speed camera coming up and also before and after the camera there has to be hatching on the road.
    Next time you drive past a speed camera if you look you'll see the markings.
    There are cameras on all bridges on motorways but they are for organisations like the RAC, they measure traffic flow so that they know if there are any traffic jams etc.
    If you drive along a motorway at night as you pass under a bridge you'll probably see a small flash.
  10. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    This is a stick issue, yes people shouldn't speed but then they should be encouraged NOT to speed by the clear indication of cameras, rather than hiding them. This doesn't stop people speeding, it simply catches them and fines them when they do! more tax on the road!. The biggest problem in my view isn't the speed that people drive its the way they drive. Doing 80-90 on an empty motorway can hardly be regarded as being more or less dangerous than 70, however doing 40-50 down a residential street is!, so why put the camera's on the motorways? additionally they do nothing about those who insist on driving too close at speed, how many times have folks been passing traffic at 70 only to have some <insert expletive> driving on you rear bumper, simply because they want to go faster!, most accidents on motorways are not caused by speed but by carelessness, lack of courtesy and basic stupidity. Perhaps cars are just too easy to drive these days?

    I'll put my soap box away now.
  11. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    Very much agreed! My one and only speeding fine was on an open stretch of country road, and yet they still refused to put a speed camera in my village where there was a primary school near the main road and drivers regularly drove through the 30 zone at 60! Also, the number of times I've wished that speed cameras could detect how close together 2 vehicles are to catch tailgaters is huge. Van drivers driving on your bumper is just so dangerous! There's no way they could avoid you if you had to brake suddenly for anything!

    Also, speed cameras have caused me huge amounts of stress, as two cameras on one journey flashed at me when I was within the limit. No ticket came through, but it did cause an anxious weeks wait while I wondered if my car's speedo was screwed up!
  12. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    The SPECS cameras have been in use on the Thelwall viaduct on the M6 for a few months now. You may have seen it on the news, it's the bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal just south of the M6/M62 interchange (junction 20/21) that despite only being rebuilt/refurbished a couple of years ago, the concrete bearings that allow it to contract/expand are cracking up and need replacing, this is taking about 2 years. There's a 40mph limit both ways, and the SPECS cameras are on overhead gantries. The cameras are yellow, with big orange squares either side of them (this is to cover the legal visibility aspect). They don't have the gridlines on the road, though, I think those are for radar cameras as a backup; i.e. the faster you were going the further you are up the grid when the camera goes off.
    The sneaky thing is that on both sides, AFTER you've got off the bridge, out of the roadworks and within sight of the "national speed limit" signs, there's one last gantry of cameras to catch drivers who speed up thinking the roadworks are over!
    I've also seen mobile SPECS cameras on the M62 (near Warrington), they're on bright yellow gantries, again with the orange squares. AFAIK the traffic control cameras are either dark blue or grey, and smaller.

    Also, did you see the Top Gear programme last series where they put a GATSO camera on a test track, then used faster and faster cars to see if there was a speed that you couldn't be caught at? If i remember rightly they had to get a top-line TVR and drive it at something over 170mph before it wouldn't go off!
  13. rutty

    rutty Active Member

    Some information about SPECS:

    For what it's worth, I'm all for this. Slowing people down is just one step in making the roads safer. Motorway driving is dangerous mainly thanks to the lunatics that think that the law doesn't apply to them. The more of these systems that are installed, the better.

    They should be targetted in built-up areas though. There's more risk of accidents around housing and schools and people should be made to respect speed limits in those areas.

    I think it's a good step that these SPECS systems can take the strain of the traffic police stopping speeders, so that they can concentrate on catching dangerous drivers.

    Drive safely people ;)
  14. rutty

    rutty Active Member

  15. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    or if you go past the first one at 120, you might want to pull over for a bit...
  16. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    I find that most cars "sit" better at 80 than they do at 70. Driving at 70 requires a lot of accelerator movement etc but i can happily cruise at 80 with just a slight steady amount of pressure. I think the 70 limit is a joke because, to be fair, how drivers on motorways stick to it? 10, 20%? If you travel at 70 you would never get out of the inside lane.

    I think they have these cameras on the Stocksbridge Bypass and they are apparently working quite well.

    If all the stupid, inappropiate limits were cut out, a lot more people would stick to the ones that are there.
  17. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    Speed cameras do work and the stats do show that road traffic accidents have come down.
    But like everything in life once it was found that as well as helping regulate speed they could also be used as a lucrative source of income, they seem to have popped up everywhere.
    With today's modern car's that have better brakes, abs etc then on motorways the speed limit could quite easily go up to 80miles an hour
    The problem is the drivers who sit in the middle lane at about 50 miles an hour without a thought towards others!
  18. Dan

    Dan Member

    Yes, I have just mentioned this to my boss who is a gatso expert, he also says it is a hoax. He knows what the SPECS cameras look like and being a regular driver on the M4 he says there none.

    Hope this puts some minds at rest! :D
  19. Jo Elson

    Jo Elson Member

    Not that you speed or anything hey John!!!
  20. JessopSmythe

    JessopSmythe Active Member

    Radio 2 Traffic report. The spokesman was speaking specifically about the rumoured cameras in the Newbury area but added that, to the best of his knowledge there are none anywhere on the M4.

    Of course as a proffessional driver and trainee driving instructor I can't condone any kind of speeding :wink: especially the sort that gets you caught