SECTION RADARS, How They Work and Where They Are

Fixed speed cameras, mobile speed cameras, traffic light speed cameras… and section speed cameras. The first section radar in Spain began to work on February 1, 2011. Although it is not really correct to call them radars, this type of “finance hunter” from the DGT (General Directorate of Traffic) is increasingly common on Spanish roads In fact, after several years, there are already several section radars that populate our roads. Section radars are those radars in charge of  calculating the average speed during a specific section to determine fines for speeding. We tell you how they work and where they are located.

Index of contents

What is a section radar

It is a speed control system capable of recognizing the characters of a vehicle’s license plate at two different points on the same stretch of road and accurately recording the time spent at each of these points.

How do they work

graphic stretch radar

  1. The vehicle enters a section of controlled speed : An infrared artificial vision camera on each lane, with a character recognition system (OCR), captures the moment in which we pass under ‘gantry number 1’, reading the license plate. A recording is made in which there is a record of the day, hour, minute and second for which the car has passed under the gantry. The quality of the photograph is up to 1,280×1,024 pixels.
  2. The vehicle leaves the section : A twin system records the data of the vehicle passing at the exit of the guarded section ‘gantry no. 2’.
  3. Data transfer and calculation : With the data recorded by the cameras, software checks the time each vehicle has taken to cross the tunnel, thus calculating its average speed. If this is higher than the allowed one – or what amounts to the same thing, it takes less time than the established minimum – the data is sent by fiber optics to the DGT Automated Complaints Center in León. There the corresponding file is processed and the complaint is forwarded to the owner of the ticketed vehicle.
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Example: on the section radar located in the Guadarrama tunnel, which connects Madrid and Castilla y León, a section with a length of 3,323 km is controlled. At a limited speed of 100 km/h, any vehicle that does it in less than 2 minutes and 5 seconds will be fined.


  • The radars are interconnected with each other : In this way, if we enter the section controlled by the right lane and exit by the left, the license plate will also be read, and may be fined indiscriminately.
  • It is also an infraction , slight in this case, to circulate below 50% of the established speed , for which we can also be fined.
  • Infrared reading cameras can also work at night or in low light conditions , with no flash being necessary.
  • Unlike conventional radars, these have no margin of error , so they are much more reliable.
  • On the other hand, like conventional radars, those of section are marked with the same sign , with the only change that they indicate “Speed ​​control in section”.
  • These section radars have to meet a series of conditions : no changes in speed limits, no entries or exits during the kilometers of the section to be controlled.
  • The clocks of the two camera systems are synchronized by GPS satellites , so their accuracy is unquestionable.
  • The cameras are illuminated by laser-leds , which is not visible to the human eye.
  • One camera is installed per lane and they are all connected to the central system, so there is no point in changing lanes.
  • They can also be used for dangerous goods control, traffic intensity calculations and other statistics.
  • They do not emit any kind of frequency, so they are not detectable by radar detectors. But since they are fixed systems, a GPS radar detector or locator will notify us without any problem.
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Location of section radars

The section radars must be duly signposted.

Province Location Highway Km (final section) Distance Maximum speed Sense
guipuzcoa Ordizia-Irura N-1 440.16 19,047km 100km/h Growing
Jaen despeñaperros A-4 245.23 3,130km 100km/h Decreasing
La Coruna Sartego Tunnel AP-9F 31.14 1,231km 90km/h Growing
Lleida Vielha Tunnel N-230 156 5,230km 80km/h Decreasing
Madrid Guadarrama Tunnel AP-6 49.26 7,584km 100km/h Decreasing
Malaga Torrox tunnel A-7 288.74 1,109km 100 m/h Decreasing
segovia Guadarrama Tunnel AP-6 56.61 3,482km 100km/ Growing
Saragossa Zaragoza ring road Z-40 29.7 3,082km 120km/h Growing

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