SPECS (speed camera)

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SPECS cameras over motorway

SPECS is an average speed measuring speed camera system[1] originally manufactured by the Speed Check Services Limited, from which it takes its name (Speed Check Services). It is one of the systems used for speed limit enforcement in the United Kingdom. Speed Check Services was acquired by Vysionics in 2010.[2]

About SPECS cameras[edit]

SPECS cameras operate as sets of two or more cameras installed along a fixed route that can be from 200 metres (660 feet) to 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) in length.[3] They work by using an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system to record a vehicle's front number plate at each fixed camera site. As the distance is known between these sites, the average speed can be calculated by dividing this by the time taken to travel between two points.[4] The cameras use infrared photography, allowing them to operate both day and night.

There is a popular misconception that the Home Office has approved the SPECS system for single-lane use only. According to this theory, a motorist can therefore switch lanes between cameras and claim non-approval to avoid prosecution for speeding.[5] However the marketing director of the manufacturer, Speedcheck Services Ltd, has stated that this theory is "categorically untrue":[6]

The cameras are often painted yellow and have been given the nickname "yellow vultures".[7]


In February 2007 a letter bomb exploded at the accountants of Speed Check Services Limited in what was believed to be an attack on organisations related to DNA testing and road transport.[8]

Similar systems in other countries[edit]

Similar systems are being used in other countries:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SPECS ¦ Average Speed Check Cameras & Speed Enforcement". Vysionics. Retrieved 18 March 2013. SPECS is a speed enforcement system, which uses linked Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to monitor the average speed of traffic over a section of road, or network of roads. It has been used in the UK to control speeds on routes with a collision history and at major roadworks since achieving UK Home Office Type Approved (HOTA) in 1999. [non-primary source needed]
  2. ^ "Supplying ANPR Cameras, Speed & Traffic Solutions". Vysionics. Retrieved 18 March 2013. In 2010, Vysionics was created following the acquisitions of CRS and Speed Check Services [non-primary source needed]
  3. ^ "SPECS - At a glance" (PDF) (Press release). Speed Check Services Limited. 2005-03-15. Retrieved 2007-04-19. [dead link]
  4. ^ "A Guide to Type-Approval Procedures for Automatic Distance/Time Speedmeters used for Road Traffic Law Enforcement in Great Britain". Home Office. 2006-04-20. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  5. ^ Ray Massey (December 15, 2006). "Drivers can avoid speeding tickets...by changing lanes". Mail Online. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  6. ^ John Ozimek (2008-07-21). "Jeremy Clarkson tilts at windmills: Speed camera avoidance is an urban myth". The Register. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  7. ^ David Leask (April 11, 2010). "'Yellow Vultures' to target speeders". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2010-04-14. 
  8. ^ "Two hurt in 'mail bomb' explosion". BBC News. February 6, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 

External links[edit]