Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.
Speed enforcement device warning systems fall into three categories; Global Positioning Systems (GPS); Radar and Laser Detection devices (scanners) and “Jammers”. GPS devices use satellite information to update drivers of approved speed camera sites and speed limits. Since 2004, the location of all speed cameras is provided on the Department for Transport website, allowing drivers access to the same information provided by GPS devices.
A radar or laser detection device “proactively” locates the signal emitted by camera equipment (including covert and mobile camera equipment used by the Police) and warns the driver of its presence. Jammers function as a device that prevents cameras from working by either deflecting the beam sent by camera equipment or stopping the beam from being emitted. Some devices combine both elements.
Until January 1998, it was legal to sell radar or laser detectors in the UK but illegal to use them in cars (because to do so might breach the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949). CAP encouraged marketers who sold those devices to include a disclaimer to inform readers that using the device might be illegal. But, after a legal challenge, the English High Court ruled that the Act did not outlaw devices that detected only the presence of a signal and CAP considered that a disclaimer was therefore unnecessary.
We understand that the Road Safety Act 2006 contains powers for the Secretary of State to decide what would be illegal to carry and use in a vehicle, including outlawing radar or laser detection devices and jammers. GPS equipment will probably remain unaffected by the Act but radar and laser detectors or jammers might be deemed illegal. If they are effectively prohibited by law, marketers should not advertise radar and laser detectors or jammers.
All marketers of speed devices should ensure that they do not fall foul of the Code by encouraging illegal or irresponsible driving (Roadnet Automotive Ltd, 3 November 2010; Networx Automotive, 8 September 2004, and Performance Products Ltd, 12 January 2005).