Mobile Speed Camera Vans Explained

Mobile Speed Camera Vans Explained

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In previous blogs we’ve explained the ins and outs of average speed cameras and red light cameras. Here, we turn our attention to mobile speed camera vans – police vehicles you may have seen by the side of busy roads, often at accident blackspots, waiting to catch speeding drivers.

How does a mobile speed camera van work?

Law enforcement officers use laser and radar guns to clock the speed and capture images of unscrupulous drivers. On straight stretches of road they will usually be able to catch you within a range of 1 mile. Mobile speed cameras work differently to average speed cameras. Unlike the latter, they don’t measure your average speed between two fixed points. Instead, they capture your exact speed as you pass and at any point within the laser’s range. Most speed camera vans operate from stationary positions, but beware...the police occasionally work the cameras on the move, and you can easily be caught this way.

What time do speed camera vans operate?

At any time, for a maximum of 90 minutes. Contrary to what you might think, mobile speed camera vans operate morning, noon and night, so it’s best to stay within the speed limit at all times. Don’t assume you’ll get away with speeding under the cover of night.

Do mobile speed camera vans take a picture of the driver?

Yes and no. Anecdotal evidence suggests enforcement officers sometimes take blurry, unclear pictures which may or may not show the driver’s face, but they will at least attempt to capture an image of every speeding vehicle. It’s the registration plate and the make of your car they’re looking for, after all.

Do speed camera vans cover both lanes?

They do. The belief that speed camera vans only cover one lane is a myth. It doesn’t matter which way the van is facing or which direction you’re traveling – break the speed limit and you can expect to face the consequences. The idea that the vans must be 100 percent visible at all times can also be filed in the mythical category. The police are perfectly within their rights to conceal a speed camera van from view, and they frequently do.

Does the window or ‘flap’ on a mobile speed camera van have to be open for it to be operational?

Many road users believe that if a speed camera van’s windows are closed then the camera isn’t in use at that moment in time. The theory being, if the ‘flap’ on the van is closed, how can the camera have an unimpeded view of the road? While it’s often the case that a closed window means the camera isn’t operational, you would be mistaken to think this is a hard and fast rule. Law enforcement are not above tricking speeding drivers and will often point their laser guns through a closed window. Therefore it’s safe to assume that, if you see a mobile speed camera van by the side of the road, it is definitely operational and you WILL be caught for speeding.

Stay safe and stick to the rules

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