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Are hidden speed cameras a hoax?

Hidden Armco speed camera

You may have seen the above image on social media with concerns that it is a covert speed camera hidden in a guardrail. However, it’s a hoax dating back to 2013.

The image is claimed to be in all sorts of places and a recent Facebook post claims it was near Maryborough.

However, Queensland Main Roads and Police both confirmed that it is a hoax.  We contacted police across Australia and none said they used them.

We believe the photo originates from Belgium and that the device is called a “Traffic-Observer Type LMS-06” guardrail LIDAR laser speed detector and camera.

However, we believe they have never been deployed outside of Europe.

In fact, we’re not even sure they exist any more.

Links to the company and the product have now disappeared off the internet.

Hidden speed camerasradar police speed camera demerit hidden

However, riders have good reason to be paranoid about hidden or “covert” speed cameras.

Regulations in various states vary in the deployment of mobile speed cameras.

In Queensland, they are not permitted to be on a “downgrade of a hill”. Yet there are fixed speed cameras at the bottom of the entry slopes into Brisbane’s tollway tunnels.

Police also frequently flout that particular rule with radar traps at the bottom of hills.

So how can we motorists expect them to adhere to other regulations?

Motorists often report police hiding their speed cameras in bushes, inside unmarked cars, behind bus shelters and billboards, etc.

Motorists also often report police with hand-held Lidar guns hiding behind poles. However, police say that is to steady the instrument, rather than hiding.

The paranoia reaches new heights when we see the signs in the Adelaide hills warning of covert speed cameras. They mean hidden!

The sneaks even hide them in wheelie bins, which is a common practice in several European countries!

Hidden speed camera
UK speed camera in a wheelie bin

On a Saab launch in the Adelaide hills a few years ago we motoring journalists were warned by a local reporter about wheelie bin cameras.

Unfortunately, it was garbage collection day! Needless to say it was the slowest vehicle launch drive I have ever attended.

If you think that’s sneaky, how about the Arizona town of Paradise Valley that has hidden speed cameras in fake cactus plants, according to a Fox News report!

Hidden speed camera
“Cactuscam” (Photo Fox News)

Legal issues

The problem with hidden cameras is they also detect motorists who have inadvertently drifted over the speed limit.

Unfortunately, challenging a speeding fine in court based on the incorrect and illegal deployment of a speed camera is often unsuccessful. It is also costly and time-consuming.

You can’t even use a radar detector to alert you to hidden speed cameras.

Radar and laser detectors (or jammers) are not permitted to be sold, owned or used anywhere in Australia except Western Australia.

In fact, they are only legal in a few USA and Canadian states, the UK, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Japan, Iceland, Israel, Phillipines, Pakistan, Romania, South Korea, Slovenia and Taiwan.

In some countries they are legal to own, but not to use! So what’s the point?

  • Where have you seen a speed camera located illegally? Leave your comments below.