Speed cameras - safety system or cash generator?

Have we reached a stage where the use of speed cameras has gone beyond the desirable aim of locating them where speed is known to have caused accidents and are they now being located with the intention of simply generating revenue? The increasing use of fixed and mobile speed cameras and other detection devices is certainly changing the driving behaviour of many motorists - often very welcome changes - but in some areas of the country many careful drivers are beginning to feel the location and use of some cameras is not reasonable. So spotting speed cameras is now essential to avoid an automated speeding fine and points particularly when driving in areas not visited regularly. So how can you get early warning of speed cameras as a prudent safety measure whilst continuing to enjoy driving an MG V8?

Well what are the options? Keeping a keen eye on the verges of the road and speed limit signs is essential for safe driving but traffic volumes often require heavy concentration to monitor other drivers' movements and possible intentions. A device which provides a warning as you approach a speed camera is a particularly useful aid as it acts as a reminder to check speed limit compliance. Used responsibly, no reasonable person could see these devices as anything but a helpful contribution to road safety.

The approach of the authorities to speed cameras varies around the country from the enlightened (like Devon & Cornwall) to the money-grabbing approach you tend to see in counties like Northamptonshire. The scale of the anticipated fines from speed cameras is stunning - a recent Sunday Times report says "there are now 4,500 speed cameras in the UK which are expected to generate three million £60 tickets this year!". The locations of cameras in Surrey are published on a website too:
Surrey Gatso red light cameras
Surrey Gatso speed cameras

Probably one of the simplest detection devices that can be fitted to a classic sports car is a clip on radar detector that can be removed from the car. The Valentine One does just this and performs very well. The author has used one for over five years and feels it is a particularly good detector.

This note aims to provide information on a radar detection device which the author feels does make a valuable contribution to safer driving. This note is not intended to suggest or encourage driving above speed limits nor should it be read as suggesting or implying that these devices should be used to avoid detection if driving above speed limits.

"The Valentine One has dominated every high-end detector test we've conducted since its introduction in 1992" said the US motor magazine, Car and Driver. The overall ratings for various radar detectors from tests done in 1992, 1994, 1997 and February 2002 show the Valentine regularly comes out on top.

The author has used a Valentine detector for more than five years and has found it has performed reliably and is a great help in maintaining an alertness to speed limits and speed cameras. It picks up X and K band and laser signals. It is a contribution to road safety in that it alerts you to locations where accidents have occured.

Valentine One installed in the windscreen mounted clip, but you will need to note the requirement in the UK that nothing should be placed within the swept area of the windscreen.

So what does the Valentine One look like, how does it rate compared with other detectors on the market,and how can you get further information?

Further information on the Valentine 2

RADAR1 - speed cameras
RADAR2 - information on the Valentine 2
RADAR3 - members' feedback
RADAR4 - proposed ban on radar detectors
RADAR5 - useful links

RADAR7 - unused Valentine for sale
Posted: February 2004