New 'ultra' speed cameras that can see inside cars could be installed on all roads

-Credit: (Image: Matt Gilley/PlymouthLive)
-Credit: (Image: Matt Gilley/PlymouthLive)

Drivers are on alert as "ultra" speed camera technology with the capability to see inside vehicles could supersede all existing cameras. The VECTOR-SR cameras, which utilise infrared lighting to apprehend drivers exceeding speed limits surreptitiously and then issue fines, were first deployed across Greater Manchester in a bid to enhance road safety in the region.

Now, this trial has broadened its reach with these innovative speed cameras being installed on 25 routes in the north of England. These ultra cameras are specifically engineered to reinforce speed restrictions and do not automatically sense other offences.

This possible proliferation of speed cameras is on the horizon as a Freedom of Information request discovered that a staggering nine million drivers were caught speeding in the past five years, approximately 2.1 million of them ensnared just last year. In a grim statistic, roughly 598 people were "needlessly killed or seriously injured" between 2020 and 2022 due to speeding in northern England.

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According to data from the National Safety Council, speeding was involved in 29 per cent of all traffic-related fatalities in 2022, claiming a total of 12,151 lives - averaging over 33 deaths every day. Just like their traditional counterparts, the ultra speed cameras, painted yellow, operate 24/7.

Lines painted on the road are not a requirement for these cameras, they employ infrared low-light technology, eliminating the traditional "flash", to nab errant drivers. Louise Thomas, a motor insurance expert at, said ultra-speed cameras represent a "big advance" in comparison to the standard speed camera many motorists are familiar with.

Aside from detecting speeding drivers on either side of the road, she explains that "they're also able to see inside driver's vehicles too".

Dame Sarah Storey, Greater Manchester's Active Travel Commissioner, went on to detail the additional environmental benefits of these cameras, such as improved air quality and reduced emissions. In her words: "As a city-region we are working to adopt Vision Zero, which targets the elimination of all deaths and life-changing injuries on our roads."

Across the UK, there are an estimated 7,000 cameras positioned strategically around the national road network, aiming to enforce reduced speed limits. According to Information acquired through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, over 810,000 drivers were caught breaching speed limits last year, with over 2.5 million motorists caught speeding in zones designated 50mph or higher.