No penalty points for speeders as cameras are tested
SOME motorists who thought they were caught speeding may have nothing to worry about -- and will not be hit with penalty points.
Gatso vans with cameras being operated by the new private speed-camera service are currently out at high-risk crash locations as equipment is tested in advance of 'going live' this November.
Drivers who recently witnessed "a flash" from these vans may have presumed their speed had been checked by an unmarked garda Gatso van. However, the privately-operated test checks will not result in fines or penalty points.
The testing is set to continue all next month.
Local authorities are to erect hundreds of speed-camera zone warning signs before the operation officially starts, the Irish Independent has also learnt.
The GoSafe service, which had been due to start next month, is now expected to 'go live' at the start of November, sources have confirmed.
In the meantime, any motorists 'caught' during the tests, need not worry -- unless, of course, they are nabbed by gardai in similar unmarked vans.
More than 50 high-roof vans, and up to five different models, have been bought.
It has also been learnt that these will be of mixed colours so that they can be deployed in covert operations to target so-called boy racers in the early hours of the morning. The new vans will have the capability of instant uploading, so speed offenders will get their fine notices much earlier, it was also learnt.
Senior sources said yesterday: "They are out testing at the moment at the collision-prone zones. Drivers may be seeing a flash, but this is purely testing the equipment. However, they must remember that gardai are also out there checking speed and it may be one of their vans."
The source said that local authorities would be putting up speed-camera zones at strategic locations along the network of 600 high-risk areas.
Gardai stress the aim is not to catch drivers speeding, but to get them to slow down.
Privately-operated vans will be sent to each of the 26 garda divisions nationwide and the private consortium GoSafe will be paid by the hour, not per offender detected.
They will film 6,000 hours every month.
Speed checks will also also be conducted in darkness for the first time.
Road deaths fell by 40pc in France and 30pc in Sweden when similar schemes were introduced.
The target is for a reduction of 50 more road deaths here each year after the cameras are put in place.
Research published yesterday showed that speeding was directly responsible for 80 deaths on Irish roads last year.