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Speed limits and safety cameras

Speed limits

Speed limits are in place for a reason. You must not exceed the maximum speed limits for the road and for your vehicle. Street lights usually mean that there is a 30 mph speed limit unless there are signs showing another limit.

The speed limit is the absolute maximum and does not mean it is safe to drive at that speed irrespective of conditions. Driving at speeds too fast for the road and traffic conditions can be dangerous. You should always reduce your speed when:

  • the road layout or condition presents hazards, such as bends
  • sharing the road with pedestrians and cyclists, particularly children, and motorcyclists
  • weather conditions make it safer to do so
  • driving at night as it is harder to see other road users.

Stopping distances

Stopping distance is affected by a number of factors, including weather conditions, load, condition of the road surface, tyres, brakes, driver skill and design and type of vehicle.

The information presented on this page is for general guidance only. Please see the Highway Code for more information.

Safety cameras

The term "safety cameras" bundles "speed" and "red light" cameras. There are 640 camera sites in London - only 350 are speed cameras; the rest are red light cameras.

The operational strategy is designed to target sites with the worst casualty records. Some sites have already achieved significant casualty reductions and it is not intended to remove them. These sites are clearly effective in reducing collisions and their removal may result in the problem emerging again. Cameras at such sites have an important ongoing deterrent role.

  • fixed cameras - are now located where four or more fatal or serious injury collisions occurred in the last 3 years
  • red light cameras - located where three or more fatal or serious injury collisions occurred in the last three years through red light running
  • some 350 speed cameras in London have been deployed across a road network of 8,500 miles - a camera has an area of influence of approximately 0.6 miles, making a total area of camera influence of 220 miles which means that the average distance between cameras in London is roughly 24 miles

The strategy for London also involves the use of 5 dedicated mobile camera enforcement units in the first 2 years. These are deployed at locations identified as having a speed related collision history and which have no camera coverage at present. The mobile units are clearly marked and police officers wear high visibility clothing.

In the City of Westminster there are 8 fixed speed cameras and 24 red light cameras. To see where they are located, visit the Transport for London website.

Last updated: 19 August 2020