Fleet News

Speed wise campaign: Government plans to ban camera detectors

ELECTRONIC 'guardian angels', which thousands of fleet drivers use to warn them of approaching speed cameras and traps, could be made illegal under Government plans.

The devices, which can detect or jam speed cameras, are to be banned because it is feared drivers are using them to break the speed limit without fear of being caught.

Estimates suggest more than 100,000 drivers have installed the devices, with dozens of companies supplying the booming market.

The Government plans to include the ban in a forthcoming Bill, with sources suggesting the penalty for carrying a device could be £1,000 and six points.

A Department for Transport document outlining the proposed ban states that it will 'prohibit the carriage of devices that either actively inhibit the proper function of a speed camera or detect the presence of functioning speed cameras (as opposed to dummy housings)'.

According to early suggestions, devices that use satellite-positioning systems to give drivers early warning of a speed camera will remain legal.

Ministers are thought to believe there is no problem with drivers simply being reminded of an approaching camera, which should be highly visible anyway under rules introduced two years ago. The Department for Transport even publishes their locations on a website.

Instead, the ban will focus on devices which tell drivers whether or not the yellow speed camera housing contains a live camera, as many housings are dummies, designed simply to prompt drivers to slow traffic down.

Ministers also want to prevent drivers from evading detection by police officers armed with hand-held speed guns. News of the plans first emerged at a transport select committee meeting, attending by Transport Minister David Jamieson. A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: 'We hope to find a legislative slot to include this in the Road Safety Bill.'

The ban would bring Britain into line with several other European countries which have outlawed camera detectors, including France, Belgium, Greece, Austria, Turkey, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Ireland and Norway. Until 1999, the devices were believed to be illegal in Britain under the 1948 Wireless and Telegraphy Act.

But a test case established that radar and laser detectors were not covered by the Act because they did not interfere with the signal.

The RAC Foundation said that detectors were a useful tool for high mileage drivers who would risk being sacked if they lost their licences after getting four speed camera penalties.

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