HADECS 3 Speed Cameras Explained

You may have read about HADECS 3 speed cameras in the national press however the messages being portrayed about these new “stealth” speed cameras are slightly misleading, so let us explain.

What are HADECS 3?

Installed on the UK’s Smart motorways, HADECS 3 which stands for Highways Agency Digital Enforcement Camera System 3 are the UK’s newest speed cameras. First installed on the M25 (J5-7 and J23-27), these cameras are now in use on the M1 (J28-31 & J39-42), M20 (J4-7), M3 (J2-4a), M4 (J3-14 & J19-20), M42 (J3a-J9), M5 (J4a-6 & J15-17) and M6 (J4-13), with more cameras expected to be in operation by March 2018.


The controversy?

Motorists and the press alike have labelled HADECS 3 as the “stealth speed camera” due its differing appearance. Unlike our usual bright yellow speed cameras these are relatively small in size, are a grey colour and found on MIDAS and Matrix signs as well as on the sides of gantries making them difficult to spot. This has led to many motorists being caught out by the cameras, with figures showing over 1,800 motorists were fined on the M25 J5-6 alone between November 2015 and January 2016.


The reasoning behind?

The cameras have been installed on smart motorways which use technology to keep traffic moving through variable speed limits and the use of the hard shoulder as an additional lane during congestion.  They are there to encourage users to stick to the variable speed limits which are displayed on the overhead gantries, keep traffic flowing and reduce accidents.


The facts?
  • Fact 1 – HADECS 3 cameras don’t use film as the photos are digitally encrypted, meaning there is no limit to the number of photos they can take. 
  • Fact 2 – The single camera and radar gun is able to cover all lanes of a motorway carriage as opposed to just one lane like older cameras.
  • Fact 3 – The cameras are active at all times, so even when variable speed limits have been lifted they are still enforcing the normal speed limit.
  • Fact 4 – The cameras are not there to catch motorists out, they aim to keep the traffic moving during busy periods.
  • Fact 5 – The minimum fixed penalty for being caught speeding by a motorway speed camera is £100 fine and a minimum of 3 penalty points.


Driving on smart motorways
  • Never drive under a red X
  • Stick to the speed limit displayed on the gantries
  • Don’t drive on the hard shoulder unless indicated
  • If there’s no hard shoulder use the refuge areas for emergencies
  • Immediately put your hazard lights on if you break down




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