The Yellow Peril – Speed Camera Evolution

The Slow Change In Perception Of The Yellow Peril

It began in the early 1990’s, when, under a barrage of complaints, the Government decreed that all speed cameras (driver’s point of view), or safety cameras (official point of view), should be painted high-vis yellow, and thus began the driver’s curse, the yellow peril.

The authorities could quote figures and statistics of casualties and accidents, motorists make claims of being used as cash cows, and the yellow peril as policing on the cheap.

They became recognised as Orwellian devices, sleepless monitors, bane of professional drivers, snatchers of the unwary, unforgiving one-eyed Wotan of the highway.

The yellow peril generated heated debates on fairness and even morality, and for almost every claim of infringement or innocence a counter claim in pursuit of safety and legality could be raised.

The authorities could produce figures that by siting a safety camera in a certain spot, the risk of accidents became diminished, and after a period of time the figures for motoring deaths slightly reduced. The figures not taking in other possible contributors to safety, such as air bags and increased inbuilt collision impact design.

The basic and most prolific of the yellow perils, the Gatso, allowed a small opportunity for legal intervention on the driver’s behalf, given the nature of its operating system.

The Gatso, a radar triggered camera, takes a number of photos of the rear of the vehicle as it goes by. The camera is assisted by a powerful flash, which, if triggered at the front of the vehicle, would startle, if not momentarily blind the driver. The speeding notice is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle, which can leave the identity of the driver to debate.

A similar yellow roadside sentinel is the Truvelo camera, which, because its flash system works on infra-red light, which the human eye does not see, a glossy front of the vehicle picture will show the driver behind the wheel as the misdemeanour is committed.

If you have received a summons for speeding and need to defend your licence, ask expert motoring law solicitors Patterson Law about your options.

The first years of the cameras generated considerable debate, but few can deny that the slower a vehicle travels, the less potentially damaging it becomes, and as the number of vehicles on our roads has increased by some 15 million since the turn of the millennium, an acceptance of traffic control has, almost inevitably grown.

The yellow safety/speed cameras are now largely seen as not a lurking enemy, but an everyday piece of roadside equipment, with the menace of a set of traffic lights.