What is a Gatso?

The term Gatso refers to the Gatso Meter speed camera, an automatic device used by local authorities in the UK to catch speeding motorists and enforce speed limits.

How a Gatso operates

The cameras are usually housed in a large yellow box and face the rear of the vehicle they are aiming to catch. The camera is triggered when the internal radar assesses that a vehicle may be breaking the speed limit. The camera then normally takes two pictures of the vehicle 0.5 seconds apart.

The speed of the vehicle is later confirmed by calculating the location of the vehicle relative to marker lines on the road next to the camera in the two pictures. This means that you may sometimes see the flash of a speed camera even though you were not in fact speeding. You can learn more about motoring law by visiting our page on the subject.

Penalties procedure

Gatso cameras often serve as the automatic starting point for the process of a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). The FPN process is triggered when a picture is taken, and then a notice (along with the picture as proof) is sent to the offending party stating that the driver will be facing a court appearance if the amount specified is not paid within a certain time frame (usually 28 days).

Usually a speeding ticket results in a £60 fine and three penalty points endorsed on the offending driver’s licence.

If you have been sent FPN along with a picture of your vehicle, but you believe that you should not be penalised, you may have your case heard in court. If you intend to challenge the ticket you are advised to consult a motoring solicitor.

Defences and mitigation

The Gatso picture is usually treated as compelling evidence but they can sometimes be overturned. There may be proof that the camera was faulty or that you were not driving the car at the time.

In some cases you may have been speeding for a very good reason and although you will probably receive penalty points, the court may be lenient when it comes to additional punishments such as driving bans.

Similarly they may decide not to ban your from driving if it will cause you significant hardship. Motoring solicitors will do their best to ensure your interests are protected.

Caven can put you in touch with a local motoring specialist solicitor free of charge. Please call us on 0800 046 1464 or complete the web-form above to speak to one of our advisors.