The Solicitor - The FindLaw UK Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Motoring law: UK SatNav users face fines for detecting speed cameras abroad

UK motorists could face fines for using their SatNav devices to detect fixed-speed cameras whilst driving abroad, reports The Daily Mirror.

It is a little-known fact that the UK is one of only two European nations that legally allow the use of Satellite Navigation devices in order to detect the location of fixed-speed camera traps.

As a result, many UK motorists frequently set up their SatNav devices to detect speed cameras, allowing them to adjust their speed to avoid detection.

However, on the continent the practice is illegal and this is something that many UK drivers are unaware of when they take their car and their SatNav abroad on holiday.

A survey by the Post Office has revealed that one in five UK motorists driving abroad is stopped by the police, but that 33% are unclear on the motoring laws that apply in foreign countries.

Andrew Brown, of Post Office Travel Money, said that knowledge of motoring law was vital when driving abroad.

"Fines often have to be paid on the spot, sometimes in cash. It's really important to gen up on the current laws before setting out," he told The Daily Mirror.

SatNav devices generally warn motorists by having the location of cameras pre-loaded into their 'Points of Interest' dataset. Other devices are available which use detectors to locate radar or laser signals emitted by speed cameras.

Seven European countries have a legal ban on 'Point of Interest' systems, including Ireland and Germany. France brought in a law banning POI systems last January. In thirteen countries POI is permitted, but detectors are illegal, these include Austria and Italy.

The penalties for flouting the law vary from country to country. German police can fine a motorist €75 if their POI system is not disabled, whilst in other countries like Switzerland the police are empowered to confiscate devices that break the law.

The AA advises motorists to read up on local motoring laws ahead of any trip, and to disable the POI function on your SatNav before leaving the UK. Speed detector systems are broadly illegal everywhere, so should be left at home.


Satnav users could be fined abroad for detecting speed cameras (The Mirror)