[March 17, 2006]

I'm off the radar!

(Liverpool Echo Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)TRANSPORT minister Stephen Ladyman uses a speed camera detector when driving his own car.

Speaking during the second reading of the Road Safety Bill in the Commons, he said: "Such devices will continue to be perfectly legal. I have one myself."

The minister's comments follow controversy over the use of detectors because two different types of technology are involved.

Those using laser or radar beams are likely to be banned.

However, as it is impossible to prevent the reception of information from satellites, there is no point in the government or police trying to ban GPS-based systems.

Every known speed camera in the UK can be logged and their positions relayed to vehicles as they approach, without the use of radar or radio waves.

Such information could even be sent to a driver's mobile phone, which can be used in any vehicle if it is hands-free.

The fact that the transport minister himself uses such a device has been welcomed by the speed camera detection industry at a time when millions of drivers are only three points away from a driving ban.

Nigel Carter, spokesman for GPS speed camera maker Talex, says: "There is considerable confusion over the legality of systems that use global positioning satellite technology as opposed to speed camera detection devices that the Road Safety Bill seeks to outlaw.

"The fact that the transport minister is using a GPS system to stay within the law sends a message that these systems are acceptable and will remain legal."

GPS systems use satellite technology to pinpoint where a vehicle is on the road.

The vehicle's position is constantly compared with the system's database of speed camera locations, and the driver is warned of a camera's proximity and the appropriate speed limit.