December 16, 2004
Posted to the web December 16, 2004

My irritation with the continued placement of speed traps on straight, open stretches of road is well known but nothing, it seems, will shift Plod and co from the prospect of revenue raising rather then safety enforcement. There are scores of roads in the urban areas where it is unsafe to travel at much more than 70 or 80 km/h, but you can be sure that the locals, mostly driving double cabs it seems, know there is no risk of being caught so 100 km/h or more becomes the norm.

This all brings me to the subject of speed checking equipment, or speed cameras in particular. It seems that most motorists have little idea how they work, so here's an abbreviated explanation. Please note that the equipment described is not necessarily exactly as used in Zimbabwe.

Certainly in Britain, the most widely used device is the Gatso, named after former rally driver, Maurice Gatsonides. The Gatso operates with a radar beam triggered by a camera attached to a post. The camera takes two photos, half a second apart, and is only triggered after the vehicle has passed the fixed position and is therefore going away from the trapping device.