What is a Gatso?


The term Gatso refers to the Gatso Meter speed camera, an automatic device used by local authorities in the UK to catch speeding motorists and enforce speed limits.

How a Gatso operates

The cameras are usually housed in a large yellow box and face the rear of the vehicle they are aiming to catch. The camera is triggered when the internal radar assesses that a vehicle may be breaking the speed limit. The camera then normally takes two pictures of the vehicle 0.5 seconds apart.

The speed of the vehicle is later confirmed by calculating the location of the vehicle relative to marker lines on the road next to the camera in the two pictures. This means that you may sometimes see the flash of a speed camera even though you were not in fact speeding. You can learn more about motoring law by visiting our page on the subject.

Penalties procedure

Gatso cameras often serve as the automatic starting point for the process of a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). The FPN process is triggered when a picture is taken, and then a notice (along with the picture as proof) is sent to the offending party stating that the driver will be facing a court appearance if the amount specified is not paid within a certain time frame (usually 28 days).

Usually a speeding ticket results in a £60 fine and three penalty points endorsed on the offending driver’s licence.

If you have been sent FPN along with a picture of your vehicle, but you believe that you should not be penalised, you may have your case heard in court. If you intend to challenge the ticket you are advised to consult a motoring solicitor.

Defences and mitigation

The Gatso picture is usually treated as compelling evidence but they can sometimes be overturned. There may be proof that the camera was faulty or that you were not driving the car at the time.

In some cases you may have been speeding for a very good reason and although you will probably receive penalty points, the court may be lenient when it comes to additional punishments such as driving bans.

Similarly they may decide not to ban your from driving if it will cause you significant hardship. Motoring solicitors will do their best to ensure your interests are protected.

Contact Law can put you in touch with a local motoring specialist solicitor free of charge. Please call us on 0800 046 1464 or complete the web-form above to speak to one of our advisors.

0800 046 1464
or fill in the form
Our trained advisor contacts you
Your chosen specialist solicitor calls you
Quick enquiry form
Area of law:
What our clients say about us
"This was the first time I've been to court, which was a nerve-racking experience for me. However, I felt very prepared, I understood my case and representation - this was down to you."
Gavin, criminal motoring, Oct 15
"Your service, and the prompt call back from your recommended firm was very good. I would not hesitate to call again or recommend your service."
Ian, employment law, Truro, July 15
"The firm were excellent, could not have been better! They are exactly what I need right now."
Linda, criminal defence, Thames Ditton, Jul 15
"Your contact and service was immediate and utmost professional, 10/10."
TF, conveyancing, Dudley, Jun 15
"I appreciate the service that you provide. I found you to be courteous, efficient and reassuring at a time when my confidence in justice is completely negative."
Patrick, litigation, Pontypridd, Jun 15
"I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the speed of which you came back to me in. If anyone else can benefit from your help like I have done, it would make my day."
Gail M, family law, Potters Bar, Jun 15
"Your assistance was extremely helpful. Particularly to someone who in 40 years of business has never experienced this sort of issue."
TD, commercial litigation, Galashiels, Apr 15
"It is difficult to express the value Contact Law has to someone like me who had very little understanding of the law and how to proceed forward with my case. Thank you for the service you provided."
AE, defamation law, Worthing, Apr 15
"Thank you for the efficient service I received. I was contacted by your solicitor on the same day as my request. Your quick response to my situation made me feel secure."
AN, employment law, London, Apr 15
"Your service was excellent, very fast and informative. I never got the impression of being pressurised at all. The solicitor you recommended was also excellent – very knowledgeable and supportive."
JHD, Motoring law, Liverpool, Apr 15
Contact Law supports the endeavours of STAE and commends all the work they are undertaking to assist in the plight of the Asian Elephant


We use cookies on the Contact Law site to help us improve it.

If you would like to allow our cookies, please click 'Continue' or carry on browsing. For more information on cookies and how to change your settings, click 'More info'.