Scariest speed camera of all... It checks your insurance, tax and even whether you are tailgating or not wearing a seatbelt
By Luke Salkeld
Last updated at 7:52 AM on 3rd November 2010
Even the most law-abiding driver might feel a shiver down the spine when spotting this speed camera at the roadside.
For as well as detecting speeding, it is packed with gizmos that check number plates to make sure insurance and tax are up to date.
It also measures the distance between vehicles to spot tailgating and takes pictures of the inside of the car – to make sure you are wearing a seat belt.
The latest weapon in speed camera technology can capture footage from 150ft away.
It is the first to detect multiple offences at the same time and is connected to police computers via satellite, so that prosecutions can be started within seconds of any offence.
Development of the system, known as Asset – Advanced Safety and Driver Support for Essential Road Transport – is being funded with around £7million of European money.
It is undergoing testing in Finland and is expected to be deployed across Europe from 2013, with each unit costing £50,000.
Motoring organisations gave it a mixed reception. AA president Edmund King said: ‘Tailgating is more dangerous in most cases than speeding so I think most motorists would welcome it.
'But it needs to be a safety measure, not a money-making machine.’
Campaign group Speed Cameras Dot Org said the device should not become a replacement for traffic police.
A spokesman said: ‘We cautiously welcome a device that can detect several potential offences, but it remains to be seen how accurate it is and how fairly it will be used.
‘It’s a pity that the main actions that cause the most accidents, namely not paying attention to the road, misjudging distances and other drivers’ intentions, cannot be detected by a device of any sort.
‘More police patrols and better driver education are the only ways to reduce accidents.’
The Asset test project is running until December 2011 with the aim of improving traffic safety.