HAVE you ever wondered how fast a driver actually has to be going before a speed camera "flashes"?

Some speed cameras in the UK have tolerances, which means motorists could be going a few miles per hour over the speed limit before they get a fine.

More than 40 police forces across the country were issued Freedom of Information requests by Confused.com in February last year, asking them to share information about when their speed cameras activate if a driver is going above the speed limit.

Essex Police was among the 39 forces which responded.

It revealed that in the county, like most UK police forces, speed cameras have a tolerance of 10 per cent plus 2 mph above the limit before a fixed or mobile speed camera will "flash".

Confused.com explains that this means, on a 30mph road, a camera would not normally activate unless a car is going past at 35 miles per hour or above.

On a motorway with a limit of 70mph, this threshold would go up to 79 mph.

While these tolerances exist, drivers should always stick to the speed limit. Essex Police applies this rule at its discretion, so as well as speeding being dangerous, pushing your luck might also still get you fined.

Not all speed cameras flash as well, so no flash does not always mean no speeding ticket.

What about average speed cameras?

Average speed cameras are different to normal fixed and mobile speed cameras, as they measure drivers' speed over several miles. This means they should be more accurate and may not have the same tolerance as other cameras.

What happens if I'm caught by a speed camera?

Within 14 days of being caught speeding, the driver will be sent a:

  • Notice of Intended Prosecution
  • Section 172 notice

They must return the notice within 28 days telling the police who was driving the vehicle. The matter will be referred to the magistrates' court if the notice is ignored.

Once drivers have responded to the notice, depending on the speed, they will be sent an option for a speed awareness course, a fixed penalty notice, or a letter telling them to go to court.

Speed tolerances exist to improve driver safety, as it means motorists will concentrate on the road rather than being constantly glued to their speedometer.