The speed cameras you see whilst driving around Kent are operated and provided by the Kent and Medway Safety Partnership. The list below details all the cameras in operation, explaining how each one works.
Fixed Safety Cameras will only be installed in certain areas of Kent. These areas would have seen over three accidents which resulted in serious injury or even death. The accidents must have been speed related and have taken place within 1.5KM of the camera site.
The Gatso speed camera is probably the most recognizable. It uses radar to detect the travelling speed of a car, which is built inside a bright yellow box. When a car moves past the camera at high speed, it sets off the camera taking two separate photographs. Each photograph is taken 0.5 seconds apart and using lines painted on the road (five feet apart) it calculates the speed of the travelling car. To calculate the speed of the vehicle is rather simple. All the verifier has to do is calculate how far the car has travelled between each photograph, using the road markings as the indicator.
Truvelo and Traffiphot:
Like the Gatso these cameras are also built in bright yellow boxes. However rather than using markings painted on the road, they are more sophisticated, using sensors built into the roads surface. They work out the speed of a car by measuring how far the car travelled over a specific period of time (similar to the Gatso). To be precise it’s over a distance of just 1.8 meters. The camera then takes a picture of the speeding car, which gives the authorities a record of the offenders’ number plate.
Mobile Safety Cameras, like fixed safety cameras, will only be used in certain areas of Kent. However they can be present in areas where only one serious injury or death has occurred, as a direct result of speeding. Also, the camera has to be within 5KM of the crash site, rather than 1.5KM that applies to fixed cameras.
These cameras use both laser and infrared technology to calculate the speed of a travelling car. They ‘shoot’ the car twice with a speed gun and calculate how long it takes the light waves to travel to and from the vehicle. As the speed of light is always the same, this then enables the camera to calculate how much distance the car traveled.
Once the operator pulls the trigger, the light pulses are sent out, striking the intended vehicle before being sent back to the camera. Multiple readings are taken each time to ensure the reading is correct, before the system establishes an accurate speed in just 0.3 seconds.
You will see these mobile cameras within camera vans for the protection of the operator. There are a total of five across Kent and can also operate across fixed safety camera sites.
Average Speed Cameras:
These cameras are also known as SPECS, which stands for Speed check Enforcement System. These are rather simplistic and catch speeding drivers by calculating how far they travelled between two points. This distance can be miles apart, so the idea is to enforce slower speeds for longer periods of time, rather than just the exact camera sites.
Most Kent motorists will recognize these cameras in roadwork zones as the government uses them to protect workers. However in Medway you will find some on the A228 in Grain all year round, as this is a notorious hotspot for serious accidents.
Be warned that these cameras don’t use flash photography, so you will not know if you were caught speeding until that unwanted letter arrives in the post.