independent

Wednesday 23 April 2014

New speed detectors to stop drivers 'slowing' for cameras

Garda monitoring cars with a speed camera
Garda monitoring cars with a speed camera

DRIVERS will no longer be able to "slow down for the speed camera" as new technology recording a vehicle's average speed over a distance is set to be introduced on Irish motorways.

In a new clampdown on speeding, two cameras, which use number plate recognition technology to spot specific vehicles, will be deployed on a stretch of road.

By working out how quickly the vehicle travelled between the two points, the cameras can then determine how fast it was moving -- and whether it broke speed limits during that stretch.

These types of cameras are already in place in the Dublin Port Tunnel and the Jack Lynch Tunnel in Cork as well as being used in other countries.

However, new legislation needs to be passed here in order to allow the digital records to be used as evidence in court. It is expected the new cameras will appear in 2015.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said the new cameras would be used in particularly dangerous stretches of road in an effort to reduce road deaths.

"Our big concern is that for the first year in seven years, the number of people who died on our roads actually increased in 2013, and we are determined to reverse that next year," he said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said the new camera scheme was just one of a number of new measures under consideration, including the introduction of variable speed limits during extreme weather conditions and the installation of new software applications to warn drivers if they are exceeding the limit.

EYE-CATCHING

The AA's Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan said the new scheme was "eye-catching" and "novel".

But he warned it should not be considered as a replacement for gardai policing Irish roads amid tightening budgets.

"It is far, far, far more important that Minister Varadkar fights at the Cabinet table next year to make sure there are proper garda resources for road safety. That's a much higher priority than these new cameras," he said.

"Systems like this are not a replacement for proper on-the-road policing, and the provision of those flashing blue lights up and down the country is a much more important priority."

He said that statistically, motorways were up to 10 times safer than poor quality single-carriageway roads.

There have been 188 road fatalities this year -- a rise on the previous year for the first time in seven years. Last year, there were 162 road deaths in Ireland. In 2011, there were 186.

Irish Independent

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