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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Types of speed cameras

The following types of speed cameras are used in Avon and Somerset:

Highways England (previously Agency) Digital Enforcement Camera System 3 – Red X (HADECS3X)

Static, spot speed, unmanned cameras in place in the smart motorway sections of the M4 and M5.

The cameras are mounted at the side of the road and use a pair of radar units to monitor the speed of passing vehicles in all lanes of the motorway.

They are linked to video cameras which monitor the Advanced Motorway Indicator (AMI) displays mounted on the overhead gantries. The system can read what speed limit is being displayed and adjust the camera’s trigger threshold accordingly.

When the AMIs are not illuminated or are showing a National Speed Limit sign, the 70mph speed limit is in effect and enforced. There is a one minute grace period following a change of speed limit being displayed, to allow drivers time to adjust their speed safely.

Static, Red X  unmanned cameras in place in the smart motorway sections of the M4 and M5.

Red X uses cameras to recognise Red X signage to alert drivers of a closed motorway lane. A red X signal indicates a lane is closed. There may be an incident or hazard ahead and a clear lane is needed for Police, emergency services, recovery services or for road-workers. You must not use the closed lane.

The Red X system operates using a radar and can operate simultaneously for Red X and speed enforcement.

When a sign displays a Red X, the system identifies the lane(s) displaying the Red X and enables lane closure enforcement.

If there is nothing displayed on the AMI above what would be generally known as the hard shoulder (Dynamic hard shoulder), or a Red X is displayed, then you should only use the hard shoulder in an emergency. Highways England (HE) only open a hard shoulder when it’s safe to do so. Remember to be vigilant and be aware of breakdowns or stationary vehicles ahead.

Emergency areas are spaced regularly and are clearly marked with blue signs featuring an orange SOS telephone symbol. Where possible, always try to get to an emergency area, even if the hard shoulder is not open to traffic. Emergency areas are set back from the carriageway and provide better protection than the hard shoulder.
You should only use emergency areas in emergencies.

Be aware of the Highway Code Rule 258 – Red flashing lights. If red lights flash on a signal and a red “X” is showing, you MUST NOT drive in the lane shown as closed beyond the signal. This applies until you pass another signal indicating that the lane is no longer closed, by displaying the word “End” or a speed limit sign and you are sure that it is safe to proceed.

For more information about how to drive on a smart motorway visit the GOV.UK site.

SPECS3 and 3M Average Speed Camera System

Static, average speed cameras set-up in linked pairs. The cameras use an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system to read the licence plate of every vehicle.

The system knows the exact distance between the two cameras and uses the time it took the vehicle to travel between the cameras to calculate the vehicle’s average speed.


Static, spot speed cameras used for speed or traffic light enforcement.

  • To enforce the speed limit RedSpeed and SpeedCurb type cameras use a set of sensors embedded in the road surface to detect the speed of all passing vehicles.
  • To enforce a red traffic light RedSpeed and RedGuard type cameras use sensors embedded in the road surface just before and after the stop line to detect if a vehicles passes over it when the traffic light is red.
LTI 20-20 UltraLyte 1000

Mobile, spot speed cameras, operated by a trained member of police staff.

The camera uses pulses of laser light to measure the changing distance between the speed gun and the vehicle being checked.

From this the system can accurately calculate the vehicle’s speed.

Was the camera equipment working properly?

All camera equipment used by the Speed Enforcement Unit has been tested and certified as accurate by the Home Office. The equipment, is calibrated annually (except for SPECS3 cameras like those enforcing the 40mph speed limit at the bottom of the M32 which have approval to be calibrated every two years) and is operated by trained police staff.

View our speed camera calibration certificates.

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