20 YEARS OF THE GATSO
An unhappy anniversary as we (don't) celebrate two decades of camera-based speed limit enforcement
Judging from data from the camera trial, drivers certainly hoofed it round this 40mph-limited right-hand bend. The police officer leading the camera program, Roger Reynolds, told the paper the trial camera snapped 22,939 drivers travelling over 65mph in just 22 days.
And when it was switched on, it caught 20 cars running over 70mph in the first week. Hilariously the drivers faced not just a fine (income dependent) but 'possible disqualification', according to the paper. You could be caught doing anything up to double the urban speed limit and still just receive the £32 fixed penalty notice.
He said that Twickenham camera was only set to flash at 60mph. "The whole point was remind people about speed, not to catch them." To that end he said only one in eight of the early cameras actually had the full £10,000 worth of kit inside them. The rest just had a rudimentary version of the Doppler radar - just enough to set off a flash but costing only £1,000.
Even today, the AA reckons only about 500-600 cameras can actually log your speed.
"When you put a camera in, the number of speeders always reduces. Suddenly there's no money coming in, so they drop the trigger speed from 38mph to 35mph to pay the bills," he told us. "What good it does it do? It just alienates you from the public."
So yes, birthday wishes to the Gatso, but very few GOOD wishes.