What you need to know about speed camera detector apps

TECHNOLOGY made it possible to create an app for every single thing that you can think of, that includes detecting exactly where there is a street camera while driving.

However, are these apps illegal to use while driving around the UK and abroad?

Using speed camera detector apps in the UK is legal

Using speed camera detector apps in the UK is legalCredit: Getty

What is a speed camera detector app? 

Speed camera detector apps do exactly what they say on the tin – detect speed cameras.

Speed camera detector apps work by comparing your car’s current GPS position with the known position of speed cameras in their database.

The app will then warn you if you’re approaching one of these areas. 

There are two main types of speed cameras, ones that use radar technology, and others that pulse laser light.

The apps pick up on the radar frequency and detect the lasers so that they can alert you.

The apps also warn you about accident blackspots and congestion zones – and some will even announce the legal speed limit as you are driving.

Are speed camera detector apps illegal? 

Speed camera detector apps are legal for use on UK roads.

A few years ago there was a lot of talk about speed camera detectors being made illegal, however, a ban never took place.

What about if you’re driving abroad?

Laws surrounding speed camera detector apps are different all throughout the world.

Here we look at the rules in some of our European neighbours…


Speed camera detecting apps are illegal in France

According to the AA, if you’re caught with one of the devices you could be subject to the following penalties.

  • Fines of up to €1,500
  • Confiscation of the device
  • The vehicle being confiscated

If your satnav can show French camera locations in France then you must at least disable camera alerts before driving in France.


Until recently, speed camera detecting apps were banned in Spain.

However, since May 2020 they have been made legal – and the Spanish Transport Department even created their own app showing exactly where the cameras are.


Like France, you can be penalised for using a speed camera detector in Italy.

It is illegal and you can be slapped with a fine of up to £2,360.


In Germany, it is bizarrely legal to own speed camera detection devices – but illegal to use while driving.

If you are caught breaking the rules you could be hit with a fine and points on your license – and your device could be destroyed.