Auto-ticketing and instant bans – the truth behind the latest speed camera rumours

Auto-ticketing and instant bans – the truth behind the latest speed camera rumours
Auto-ticketing and instant bans – the truth behind the latest speed camera rumours

Social media has been awash in recent days with claims that a series of speed cameras on smart motorways have just been activated and are enforcing harsh punishments on drivers.

Messages shared on Twitter, Facebook and via messaging apps claim that “smart” cameras on the M1 and M25 have been set to auto-generate a ticket to any driver exceeding 72mph. They also claim drivers will be given six penalty points and that anyone topping 90mph being hit with an instant ban. Some messages also claim that the same has happened on the M6 and M42.

The rumours claim that the cameras in variable speed limit zones have been switched on permanently and will catch drivers even when there is no limit displayed and the national speed limit is in place.

M25 speed cameras

No changes

However, Highways England, which oversees the nation’s smart motorways said it wasn’t aware of any large changes to how the cameras operate.

It confirmed that cameras in variable speed limit zones can be used to enforce the national speed limit as well but emphasised that the cameras were the responsibility of local police forces and that there was not quick way to activate or deactivate every camera on the network.

A spokesperson told HonestJohn.co.uk: “Safety cameras on smart motorways are set by each regional police force, we are unaware of any sweeping changes to the entire camera network on either the M1 or M25.

“It simply isn’t possible to activate or deactivate every single speed camera on the M1 or M25 at the press of a button. We have no idea where these rumours came from.”

Read more: Smart motorways – how they work and how to avoid a fine

The claims that anyone caught by the cameras would also instantly receive six points and be instantly banned for exceeding 90mph have also be rubbished.

Edmund King OBE, president of the AA, took to social media to emphasise that the punishments for speeding hadn’t changed.


The minimum penalty for speeding remains a £100 fine and three penalty points, although this can rise to as high as £2,500 if you’re taken to court and you can be disqualified depending on the seriousness of the offence.

Speed limits

Speed limits also haven’t changed. Technically, anything over 70mph is breaking the law and leaves you exposed to a fixed penalty notice or prosecution but there is no suggestion that the “buffer” many police forces use to allow for calibration issues has been changed.

Read more: UK speeding fines – how much you’ll pay

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