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.
Claims that detection devices can be used for locating accident black spots, schools or other areas where extra alertness could be beneficial are claims that are likely to be acceptable under the CAP Code. Marketers should not, however, overstate the benefits or safety applications of those devices. In 2002, the ASA ruled against claims made for the Road Angel GPS system. The advertiser claimed that the “Road Angel” has been specifically designed to rapidly provide critical information to enhance the safety of your journey. The ASA considered that the advertisement exaggerated the benefits of using the device because it provided information only on areas of extreme danger near speed cameras or other pre-determined locations and not other dangers (Hambro Cavendish, 20 November 2002).
Other claims, such as “GPS owners have fewer accidents”, are likely to be a problem unless marketers can provide proof. So far that type of claim has not been proven (Performance Products, 8 September 2004). Furthermore, claims that “proactive” laser and radar detection devices that merely react to signals can “Improve road safety” have not yet been proven.
CAP advises marketers to emphasise the benefits for all road users of safer, more responsible driving within the legal limits. In 2005, the ASA concluded that the claim “Keep your speed in check” together with a visual depicting a speedometer showing 30 miles per hour was acceptable in an advertisement for a radar detection device (Performance Products, 12 January 2005).
Marketers should be aware that the legality of speed detectors is subject to the Road Safety Act 2006, which contains powers for the Secretary of State to decide what would be illegal to carry and use in a vehicle, including GPS, radar or laser detection devices and jammers. It seems unlikely that GPS equipment will be prohibited. Marketers of those devices that may be legally sold and used should ensure that they do not fall foul of the CAP Code by encouraging illegal or irresponsible driving.