How Does a Fixed Speed Camera Work?


Quick Answer

Fixed speed cameras usually have two components: a mechanism for sensing the speed of oncoming vehicles and a recording device for capturing key details of a speeder's vehicle. Specific designs for speed camera setups vary widely with manufacturer, local laws and the intended purpose of the device.

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Full Answer

A typical fixed speed camera monitors a limited area for speeding vehicles. This area usually has a pressure-sensitive plate embedded in the road surface. Oncoming vehicles apply pressure to this plate and signal to the camera that a vehicle is entering its field of view. The camera then activates, as does its built-in speedometer. This is usually a radar gun of the sort used by traffic-control police. The radar sends out a signal that bounces back to the camera's receiver unit and tells it how fast the target vehicle is moving. If the returned-signal data indicate a speeder, the optical components of the camera activate to capture an image of the offending vehicle. Typically, the camera is set up to catch the vehicle's make and model, license plate number and an image of the driver that can be used in court as identification if the vehicle owner chooses to contest the automatically generated citation for speeding.

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