SPECS Speed Camera Dodge Confirmed as an Urban Myth

According to this report in The Register the widely reported ‘dodge’ that apparently allowed speeding motorists to avoid detection by SPECS cameras has been exposed as a myth by the makers of the cameras.

The SPECS system measures the exact time taken to travel between two sets of cameras and accurately calculates the average speed over the known distance.

The Register quotes Geoff Collins, marketing director of Speedcheck Services Ltd, the manufacturers of the SPECS cameras, as describing the idea that you can avoid points on your license simply by changing lanes as “categorically untrue”.

He went on to explain that not only was it technically untrue – the cameras can measure speed accurately whether the car changes lanes or not – but that Home Office Type Approval (HOTA) test had been carried out last year which allows the cameras to be used to detect speeding even when a car has changed lanes.

That doesn’t seem to explain what the situation was before the cameras gained this new type approval. Have speeding tickets been issued in the past to motorists who changed lanes and were detected speeding by equipment not type approved for the purpose, or were tickets not issued for motorists who changed lanes while speeding?

It’s also clearly untrue that the cameras can measure average speed accurately if a vehicle changes lanes several times. The system works by measuring the exact time taken to cover a known distance. Changing lanes obviously changes the distance travelled and makes any calculation inaccurate.

Posted under Speeding

Posted by Alec at 10:43 am, July 25, 2008

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2 Comments so far

  1. Jamie added on  July 28th, 2008 at 09:54

    You’d have to weaving constantly all the way to make a significant difference to your distance travelled over a distance of a mile or whatever they measure your speed over, A few metres difference is not going to change the calculation by more than a few hundredth of a mile per hour. If it did make a difference it would be in the drivers favour, so I don’t think you’d get away with it… “I swerved all the way down the road, and therfore the reading of 69 in a fifty limit is inaccurate – I was doing more like seventy M’lud”!

  2. Alec added on  July 28th, 2008 at 20:46

    A fair point, I’d realised as I was writing that any error would be in the favour of the driver and now I’ve done a rough calculation on the speed measurement error caused by changing lanes I can see that it makes much less difference than I’d thought.

    However I was actually just pointing out the error of the Geoff Collins’ quoted claims that “the cameras can measure speed accurately whether the car changes lanes or not”, they clearly can’t, even though, as you’ve rightly pointed out it’s a small discrepancy and usually (although not in the case of cut corners) in the favour of the driver, but it still introduces an element of error which would not be there if the vehicle stayed in lane.

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