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Types of Speedtraps.

The types of trap can be broken down into various categories,
Radar or laser operated, non radar or laser operated and then into mobile or non mobile.
Radar Devices
Speed detection using radar was pioneered by Maurice Gatsonides, he was a rally driver who wanted to measure the speeds of rally vehicles, this turned into a business. Hence Gatso cameras.

Radar, Laser and Speedtrap Bands.

Gatso Camera, Fixed Installation Post (FIP)
Usually has an 800 frame roll of film and operates on K Band radar.
When a vehicle exceeds a preset speed threshold, the device is activated taking two photographs half a second apart. The photographs show the date and time of the offence, together with the speed recorded, it will also show the distance travelled between the 2 photos by showing the white graduations in the road. The unit takes between three and four hundred readings of a single vehicle as it passes through the beam. There must not be a greater speed variation on all of these readings of more than two miles per hour or the device will abort the test.
These can also use the TruVelo pressure sensor system or the inductive loop system.

Mobile Gatso Cameras, Mobile Installation Post (MIP)
This is a complete FIP camera but mounted on a trailer. It costs around 9000 and is towed into position, typically in road works. It can be deployed in around 15 minutes. It has the same box on top of the pole as a normal FIP, and hence works the same (radar, 800 frame roll of film etc.). The ruler markings on the road are the only difference, the police don’t paint these markings on the road each time, so they can be superimposed on the pictures. However they do paint the road in some areas, such as long term roadwork’s.

SPECS, SVDD (Speed Violation Detection Deterrent)
Super efficient, at least 2 cameras with infra red lights that are linked to a computer that uses number plate recognition, if the same number plate appears at the second camera within a given time period then it will calculate the average speed over the distance between the cameras, if the speed is over a given threshold an NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) will be issued. All this can be automated by the computer technology it has, it can dial into DVLA for the driver details, and send an automated NIP with all the details and digital image, it won’t run out of film like a Gatso can, as I said super efficient.
A company called Speedcheck will operate the system and so free up officers to chase real criminals. However this also means that because of the reduced police presence on the roads the nutters who keep to the speed limits but are just very bad drivers (such as the centre lane owners club) won’t get stopped at all.
Motorcyclists are not affected by this system as it is forward facing so can’t read a motorcyclists number plate. Square and dirty number plates can give the system problems and the images could be handed to a human being to decipher the image..

If you have seen these in your county please let us know so that we can keep others informed.

DS2 (TruVelo)
3 rubber hoses set into the road across the carriageway, either manned or unmanned. It can be linked to a video device. Hoses are set 1M apart, not to be confused with traffic counting devices which only have 2 hoses. The time difference between the pressure acting on the first hose to the second/centre hose gives an accurate speed measurement. It can tell which direction you came from by which of the 2 outside hoses is hit first.

If you have seen these in your county please let us know so that we can keep others informed.

Marom
This is not yet used in the UK, it uses 2 infra red beams and 2 reflectors in the road, the beam is broken to activate it, giving speed, direction, the distance from the previous car, even the car length.

Cat’s Eye Camera
Solar powered and already tested in America and South East Asia, feelings are that this is not yet proven technology for the UK and still has a long way to go, one stumbling block is that they are generally solar powered which can cause problems with UK weather being unreliable, the government has commented that it is happy with it’s current developments on speed cameras. More Information.
Portable Devices

Laser
Very accurate but the beam can spread out to 3 ft at 1000 ft distance.
When used over 400 yards they need to be tripod mounted for stability.
Readings can be taken in a fraction of a second. It needs a flat/reflective surface such as a number plate or even a headlight. The device must be calibrated once a year by the manufacturer and also at the start and end of each shift by the officer with a calibrated speedometer. The distance to the target must be a minimum of 10 times the height from the road.
Popular in Kent, Manchester and Wales forces, but fast becoming the most popular form of mobile trap across the country. The device can be switched for oncoming or receding vehicles. On an interesting note the Lti 20-20 has been banned in certain American states as the shake effect when using a heavy hand held device can affect it’s accuracy.

Mini Gatso
Usually mounted on a small tripod and very accurate. You may not see these until it is too late you will find them concealed behind vehicles or any other convenient obstacle. Using K or Ku band. Although once a favourite device, in England the Police now prefer Laser devices for their convenience and ease of use, a radar tends to pick up the object with the largest radar signature, so if a car and a lorry are going through the same trap the officer may not get the vehicle he wants to. With a laser gun the officer can target an individual car from a line of traffic hundreds of metres away, take a speed reading and an image in a fraction of a second.

Vascar (Visual Average Speed Computer And Recorder)
Set at a minimum distance of 1/8 of a mile. The trap could be white squares or round markings on the road but could be any fixed objects of a known distance apart. A police officer uses a time recording device to record the length of time it takes a vehicle to travel through the speedtrap, once this has been done it is a matter of time over distance to calculate the drivers speed. This could even be done from a helicopter or an officer on foot. As this is largely down to human judgement there is a tolerance for the officers reactions. The tolerance is the same at each end of the reading so the reading is thought to be accurate enough for a prosecution.. This can be used in conjunction with video for a safer prosecution.

ProVida
This can be mounted in either marked or unmarked Police cars or even on a motorcycle and is a video system which can be used for recording poor driving behaviour and then be shown to drivers to demonstrate their errors, it can also be used in court to support the officers statement if needed. If you are faced with images or videotape of your own poor driving behaviour you are less likely to contest a prosecution, perhaps more importantly it would also make you think about how to improve your driving behaviour.

Calibrated Speedometer.
An officer can simply follow a speeding vehicle using a calibrated speedometer this must be done over at least 2/10 of a mile.

Robic
This is a hand held stop watch calculating and indicating speed. It can be used on foot.
An officer can make use of special markings in the road, police motorcyclists and Bobbies on the beat like to use them because of there portability, being pocket size.

Bus Lane Enforcement Cameras
Not quite a Gatso, but in some cities Bus Lane Systems are being used to monitor bus lanes, using Gatso style systems with inductive loops or Inboard Bus Video Systems. (The Video fitted on the bus can usually be seen fitted on the front in the middle area of the bus, a 9″ square black window gives it away.) These cameras watch out for offending vehicles using the bus lane to drive down or park in. Offending vehicles get an NIP in the post.
In use around London they are proving very effective in convicting drivers that use bus lanes.