A list of definitions of acronyms and terms related to driving and roads that you may find on our website.
If there are any other acronyms you think should be added to this page, please let our webmaster know.
Air Accident Investigation Board
The body responsible for investigating aircraft accidents in the UK, The ABD has called for a similar body to investigate fatal road traffic accidents.
Association of Chief Police Officers.
A private limited company.
Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland.
Unlike ACPO, ACPOS is a charity registered in Scotland.
Automatic Number Plate Recognition.
A system comprising a camera linked to a computer capable of reading the number plates of moving vehicles. Used by SPECS cameras, some service staion forecourt cameras, etc.
Central Motorway Police Group.
A police organization responsible for policing motorways in the police force areas of Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, and West Mercia.
Control room radio callsign is 'M2MA', often heard on police TV reality shows as "Mike Alpha".
Crown Prosecution Service.
A procedure whereby government pretend to be interested in what the public think, but often ignore the results and do what they want anyway.
- Crawler Lane
An extra lane added to a road where it goes up a steep hill in order to allow heavy vehicles to get out of the way of other traffic.
Department for Transport. (Well they're supposed to be 'for' it, though sometimes we wonder…)
Decriminalized Parking Enforcement.
The measures by which the government took enforcement of parking away from the police and gave it to local authorities, many of whom handed it on a plate to private enforcers who all too often act like criminals.
The process of upgrading a single carriageway road to a dual carriageway.
Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency.
- Entry slip
A slip road onto a motorway or graded dual carriageway.
- Exit slip
A slip road exiting a motorway or graded dual carriageway.
- Fatal Accident
An accident involving a fatality. This is the only category of accident that even the government can't fiddle. See 'Serious Injury Accident' and 'Slight Injury Accident'.
Freedom of Information.
An EU backed satellite navigation system intended to provide the means to impose road tolls and external control of vehicle speeds across Europe.
A Dutch company who make speed cameras. Named after ex-rally driver and naive inventor Maurice Gatsonides.
Greater Manchester Police
The police force that covers the area of the former Greater Manchester county.
Global Positioning System.
A navigation system utilizing radio signals transmitted by a network of satellites operated by the US Department of Defense.
- Graded dual carriageway
A dual carriageway that has bridges and entry/exit slip roads to allow traffic to enter and leave without stopping, as opposed to traffic lights or roundabouts.
Institute of Advanced Motorists.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Independent Police Complaints Commission
Intelligent Speed Adaptation.
A total misnomer, since it is actually replacing intelligent speed adaption by unintelligent speed adaption.
Killed or Seriously Injured.
A statistical figure that combines fatal and serious injury accidents into one figure. Used by government to hide fatalty figures, or to make fatality figures seem larger than they actually are.
- Lane 1
The left-most lane on a motorway or dual carriageway.
Lothian and Borders Police
The police force covering Edinburgh, Lothian, and the Scottish Borders.
Lead Replacement Petrol
Local Transport Plan.
A government policy usually hiding a whole raft of anti-car measures.
Manchester Against Road Tolls.
A group backed by the ABD and NAAT which successfully fought the proposed Manchester Congestion Charge.
A small roundabout with no solid central island. Used instead of traffic lights at small junctions with similar traffic flow on all routes. Avoids the cost of traffic lights, and avoids having to wait unnecessarily when there is nothing coming from other directions. Traffic lit junctions work this well when the power fails. Sometimes used (rather foolishly) as a traffic calming measure.
- Member of Parliament
- Metropolitan Police. The police force covering London (except the City of London which has its own force). The force radio callsign is 'M2MP', usually spoken as just 'MP'.
Not In My Back Yard
People who like to whinge about any development proposed in their area, whose selfish territorial instinct outweighs their consideration for other people.
Notice of Intended Prosecution.
The legal document sent to drivers caught by speed camera, threatening them with fine and/or points or a 'speed awareness course' at even more cost.
National Speed Limit Applies.
North West Motorway Police Group.
A police organization responsible for policing motorways in the police force areas of Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside.
Control room radio callsign unknown. Probably Mike or Charlie something. Somebody paying attention to a police reality TV show will tell us.
A section of road where it passes over a bridge, usually a road bridge.
- Overtaking Lane
A fundamentally incorrect colloquial name for the outermost lane of a motorway. The correct term as used by the police is lane 2 or lane 3 or lane 4 depending on how many lanes the motorway has. People who use this term do not understand how to drive properly on a motorway, and in our opinion should be banned from doing so until they stop using it!
Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety.
The ABD is a member in an attempt to bring some balance.
Police jargon for any accident involving a police vehicle.
- Prat Perch
Coloquial term for an elevated observation point beside a motorway used by police cars or speed camera vans.
(From the name given by Formula 1 drivers to the team managers' booth on the pit wall. Thanks to Martin Brundle for sharing that with the world!)
Police Service of Northern Ireland
Formerly the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
Road Traffic Accident.
A term banned by Labour spin doctors in an attempt to persuade the public that someone is always to blame.
- Safety Camera
The device formerly known as a speed camera. Renamed for propaganda purposes.
An abbreviation for Satellite Navigation device — used mainly because nobody can spell 'satellite' correctly.
An electronic device that receives GPS signals, often used by people who can't read maps (nor SatNavs) in order to get lost.
- Serious Injury Accident
An accident classed as involving a 'serious' injury. The problem with this is understanding exactly what constitutes 'serious', and the fact that it has been redefined at least once in recent years. The current official definition is:
"Serious injury" means an injury which is sustained by a person in a reportable accident and which:
(a) requires hospitalisation for more than 48 hours commencing within seven days from the date on which the injury was received; or
(b) results in a fracture of any bone (except simple fractures of fingers, toes, or nose); or
(c) involves lacerations which cause nerve, muscle or tendon damage or severe haemorrhage; or
(d) involves injury to any internal organ; or
(e) involves second or third degree burns or any burns affecting more than five percent of the body surface; or
(f) involves verified exposure to infectious substances or injurious radiation; and seriously injured shall be construed accordingly.
N.B. (a) may be influenced by the availability of hospital beds.
(e) the percentage of body surface burnt is unlikely to be measured scientifically, and so will simply be estimated by a doctor.
- Slight Injury Accident
An accident classed as involving a 'slight' injury. The problem with this is understanding exactly what constitutes 'slight', and the fact that it has been redefined at least once in recent years. According to the definition for Serious Injury Accident, the fracture of a finger, toes or nose is a 'slight injury'. But what of a tiny scratch, or a bruise?
- Slow Lane
A fundamentally incorrect colloquial name for the innermost lane of a motorway. The correct term as used by the police is lane 1 .
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
Statutory Off Road and Notification
A bureaucracy supposedly designed to deter use of untaxed cars, but in reality mostly a way of raising money from people who forget to fill in the form.
A type of speed camera that records vehcile registrations at two points a known distance apart and calculates the average speed between them. Refered to on roadside signs as 'Average Speed Cameras'. SPECS camera are paited yellow and mounted on yellow or dark blue posts, or overhead gantries on motorways. Their appearance has earned them the nickname of 'Yellow Vultures'.
A colloquial term for speed camera vans. Originally coined in Hawaii.
Not a well known racing driver and TV presenter, but the Transport Innovation Fund. The means by which the Labour government offered local authorites significant money for public transport improvements, but only if they implement congestion charging. A bribe by any other name.
Transport for London.
The part of London's regional government responsible for all surface and subterranean transport in the capital.
As they don't do air, perhaps it should be renamed London Underground and Surface Transport — or LUST for short ;-)
A South African company who make speed cameras.
Thames Valley Police
The police force covering Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Berkshire.
A section of road where it passes underneath a bridge, usually a road bridge.
Vehicle Activated Sign.
A radar triggered LED sign, often used to display a speed limit, or a bend warning sign.
Vehicle Excise Duty.
Once known as 'road tax' in an attempt to convince gullible people that it would all be spent on roads.
World Health Organization
- Yellow Vultures
A colloquial name for SPECS average speed cameras.
For some amusing alternatives to these official definitions, see Acronyms