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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 10398
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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Hello. Does there have to be a camera warning sign on display

Customer Question

Does there have to be a camera warning sign on display for a section of road when a mobile speed camera is being used? For instance, if I have received a ticket for speeding and there was no roadside sign, is my ticket null and void? Do the same rules apply for fixed Gatso type camera sites?
Many thanks,
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

I know this isn’t going to be the answer you want to hear, and it’s certainly not what I want to tell you. However, I wish to be completely honest with you, so I feel obligated to not give you false hope.

All that is a complete myth I’m afraid.

There is no obligation to highlight the presence of a speed detection device at all. They are perfectly free to high them behind overgrown trees and catch motorists by stealth in law. Speeding is a crime like any other. The police are under no obligation to warn people of their crime detection methods. In fairness, if test purchase officers had to warn people of their presence they would never catch any dealers and the different here is just one of degree unfortunately.

The ACPO guidelines do say that they should be highlighted. They are just guidelines and not law. Many of the Constabularies ignore them and there has been case law that weakens any need to enforce them.

What they cannot do in law is obscure the speed limit signs in any way. Then the motorist would have a challenge. There are only three automatic speed limits in the UK. The first is 30 mph in a restricted zone signed by street lights, the second is 60 mph in a single carriageway without street lights and the third is 70 mph on a motorway. If they want to vary those limits then they need authority from the Department of Transport and they need to erect signs that amount to ‘adequate guidance’ under S85 Road Traffic Act.

Sorry thats probably not the answer you wanted but it is the position that you have and I have a duty to give you truthful and accurate information even though its not what I want to say.

Hope this helps.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Err, no.

Government guidelines clearly state 'camera warning and speed limit reminder signs must be placed in advance of fixed, mobile or time/distance speed enforcement taking place'.

Secondly, you say that there is no obligation to highlight speed detection devices, they can hide them behind overgrown trees, is blatantly contrary to the 2011 Government regulations.

Satisfied with your answer? Absolutely not; sorry, I think you've got some explaining to do.


Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Ok. Best of luck then.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Are you in the UK/ Your clock says 10:22 EST for your last reply. Sounds to me you are somewhere in eastern USA. Please advise. And a reply to my previous question (going to a panel of experts so the caption said). Thanks. John

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I am in the UK. The site is based in the states.

Since you are dissatisfied though I'm afraid I will not be able to continue.

All the best.
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
Jo's advice is correct. There is no legal requirement for a camera warning sign. There are guidelines but a breach of the guidelines will not invalidate the speed camera results.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 years ago.
I also agree with your original expert.

If this were an issue of the speed limit signs not being displayed properly then you would have a defence.

As stated in your original answer the ACPO guidelines are not law. I'm afraid you cannot rely on them as a defence to your speeding.